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.

Hunt for Red October

“Give me one ping, and one ping only please.”  A line from the movie, “Hunt for Red October”, I like to say in my best, which isn’t that good, Sean Connery voice.  I have always been intrigued by submarines, and Red October is a large, Russian, ballistic missile loaded one.  It fascinates me how they knew where they were before the use of a computerized guidance systems.

Some followers of Jesus Christ could be called, “Submarine Christians”.  By that, I mean they stay undetected as they move about when it comes to their faith in God.  They might raise their periscope, every once in a while and take a look around to see if it is safe to surface.  They have their personal reasons for not being detected, most likely out of some degree of fear.  In the movie, “Red October”, the enemy on paper turned out to be their ally, and helped them achieve their goal.

God, through his word, encourages us not to hide our faith.  In fact, there are several verses that direct us to shine bright. Here is one of them:

“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? 15 And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.” Mat. 5:14-15 (TPT)

People who are far from God need to see him, they need to hear him.  They need to find him, in us.  You never know where hurting, or lost people are unless you look them in the face and listen to the words they say.  People who need God do give clues, if you are paying attention, if you are hunting.

Instead of computers guiding us, we can be guided by the Holy Spirit.  Led of God to where the sick need healing, the oppressed need to be set free.  God’s word equips us with spiritual weapons to take out the enemy, the devil.

The ping, Sean Connery asked for, verified his distance from his ally.  By coming to the surface, finding those who are with us, we can work together to complete God’s mission to save the whole world.

“That the whole world might be saved…”
John 3:17

Whether people realize it, or not, they are hunting for God.  The spirit man inside each of them is striving to be reunited with God’s spirit.  Let’s be out there helping them connect their heart to the heart of God.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Will God Show Up?

There is a lot going on in our world at this time.  Two weeks from today, America will decide to keep the president we currently have, or to elect a new one in.  The most trying thing concerning these times is, how will our decisions effect the future of America, our own lives, or the effect they will have on the world?

This kind of uncertainty can be unnerving, even scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’m sure there are people all around the world asking the same question, “When will God show up?”  I share this message with you this day,

He already has!

You see when Jesus died on the cross the veil in the temple of God ripped from top to bottom, and this was no thin, cheap curtain either one might purchase at a discount store.  The only way that curtain could be ripped was by God.  He did it to show that now, through the death of his only son, when we accept Jesus into our lives we can enter into the very presence of God any time we want to.

As a result, for the people who believe in God, his presence is with us as we now are the temple of God.  And we take his presence everywhere we go into the world, and into our homes.  Those are the places where people are, and those people need to see God through us.  The peace He gives unto us to live in the current times we are in.

There are a lot of lies out there being spread.  You could call it, “Fake News”.  Always ask God what He says about the things others are telling us.  Remember this, just because it is on the news or on the internet does not make it true.  Even if part of it is true, God has the final word.

Believers need to place their hope and trust in God, knowing that they are his children, and God, being the loving father He is, takes care of his children.

When others are running aimlessly around in fear they will notice the peace and calm that is within you.  Remember as God’s temple, take his presence to the people of the world.  Be visible, be vocal, so they too may have the hope and peace you have.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Life Is No Game

A man was walking through an art museum, when he suddenly stopped.  In front of him was a painting that portrayed two individuals playing the game of chess.  The man, being a chess champion was intrigued, and studied the piece of art with intense focus.  The title of the painting was “Checkmate”.  In the game of chess that means the king is about to be overcome, and there is nothing he can do about it.  “Checkmate”, is a word that indicates or announces, you’re done.  It’s over.  It may even invoke fear.

Do you feel as though someone, or circumstances has recently said, “Checkmate” to you?  Is your heart being gripped by fear?  I was watching the news the other day, and heard how many people are still unemployed, and are being threatened of losing their dwelling place, and worst yet, are hunger challenged.  I don’t like to see anyone suffer, and if it hurts me I know it must hurt God.  Yes, God has emotions.  Where do you think we got ours as we are created in his image.

There is truth in saying that “some” people create their own problem(s) by how they live, or by what they do with their money, but now is not the time to give a lecture when they are already on their knees.  We can only hope they dislike their circumstances so much they make drastic change as soon as they can.  In other words, they find a glimmer of hope, and they hang on to that hope, because truth is, there may not be anything else to hold on to.  The kind of hope that can eliminate fear.  The kind of hope that can only be found in Jesus who is the King of Kings!

The chess expert in the museum cried out,

“This painting is incorrectly titled!”

The museum curator came rushing over to see why the man was making such an outrageous claim.  “Sir, why do you claim it is titled wrong?” asked the curator.  “Because I have looked at every possibility, and the king has one more move that will cause his opponent to be checkmated!”  The piece of art is now in a private collection.

You see, when you place your hope, your trust and faith in the King, you don’t ever have to worry about it being over, for the King of Kings always has one more move.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Like Today!

clockOne of the hardest things, about walking with God, is knowing, “when”.

You are trusting God to do something in your life.  You have asked for it more than a child asking for candy.  Whether you are waiting for your spouse, or waiting for the correct time to start that business that has been brewing in your heart for 10 years.  Or in my case, when am I going to win an Oscar award for the New York Times best seller I wrote?  Some maybe hanging on to the promise that one day they will be debt free.  We want to know “when”, and when we focus on the not knowing it distracts us from living today.

A father and mother knew they were taking their two daughters to Disneyland, but also knew there was no way they could tell them until that day had come.  Why?  Because those wise parents knew that every day before would be a disappointment to those girls if “that” day wasn’t “the” day they got to go.

Do you see now why God can’t tell us “when” what He has already commissioned to take place in our life will happen, because if He did it would ruin “today” if “today” wasn’t the “day” it came about.

If God told a man who his wife was going to be before it was time, that same man would most likely get a restraining order from that woman, because he would get caught stalking her simply because he wanted to see her, and get to know her.  A woman’s business may fail because she opened it too early, or in the wrong place.  Then she might be tempted to walk away from God, thinking, “Well God you said I would have my own business!”  I probably wouldn’t enjoy writing any book if I only focused on, “Is this the one?”

I would rather be a mile behind God,
than one inch in front of him.

Enjoy the journey.  Enjoy today.  Like today!  See God’s hand in your life today. You might be saying to yourself, “I haven’t seen God today at all.”  My reply would be, “You woke up didn’t you?”  Last year I went through a time of asking God for more money to pay the extra bills we had.  I remember God asking me, “Okay, how much money do you need today?”  I thought about it and realized the bills for the whole month had already been paid and “today” I didn’t need any.  God could have said, “Well then shut up!” but He didn’t.  He didn’t have to, because by his question I knew He had met all my needs for “today”.

TRUST will help you overcome the word, “when”.  Trust doesn’t mean you throw your hands up and say, “I don’t have to do anything.”  But it can calm you down knowing God will work it out when it is time.

This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 AMPC)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Wise Thing to Do

Charlie 49“That’s just great!  What am I going to do now?  How am I going to get out of this?”  Have you said something along this line in recent days?  It seems like I have, a lot, or on several occasions.  Some, when faced with problems or challenges don’t sleep much, while others, might get worried sick.

I generally have no problems sleeping, ever, but I am guilty of focusing too much on answering the question, “How am I going to take care of this?”  Did you catch my mistake, or see where I went wrong?  My thinking and attitude is totally off balance.  “How am I going to do this?”  Sure, it’s always easier to see what someone else is doing wrong.  Here is what I should have done:  gone to God and asked for wisdom.

“But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:5 New English Translation (NET Bible)

I picked this translation because the word, “deficient” is a better translation of the Greek word instead of “lack”.  And, to be honest, I can identify with being deficient, bankrupt, empty, void of understanding of the problem, which almost paralysis me.  According to Rick Renner,

“Wisdom gives you special insight that helps you know what to do.”

Also, the word, “ask” is more of “reverently expecting an answer”.

So go back to sleep, or go back to living life.  Admit you don’t know, ask God for wisdom, and be confident your answer is on its way, because God gives wisdom generously.  That’s the wise thing to do!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Do You Have It?

The symptoms:

You have to be home before it gets dark.  You double or triple check the locks on your doors.  It causes you to miss out on opportunities.  It can frustrate, and even hurt others who don’t have it and who struggle to understand why you still do.  It can grip your heart, and hinder, or paralyses you at times.  You have to have someone else with you or you won’t leave the house.

Do you have it?  Do you have fear?

Charlie 27Those who believe in God should be void of fear.  I know a woman who trust God while it is light outside, but she doesn’t trust him at night.  It’s not totally her fault, she was raised to be afraid of everything.  She hasn’t learned to overcome the lies, but I know she will!  Joyce Meyer says fear is:

F alse
E vidence
A ppearing
R eal

John 14:27 Amplified Bible (AMP)  Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

When you really trust God, there is nothing to fear.

Why be afraid of something that may never happen?  Another scripture, Job 3:25 says, “What I fear the most has come upon me.”  I know this can really happen.  I have a friend that shared her greatest fear with me and about 3 years later it happened almost exactly how she feared it would.

Fear, says to God, “I don’t think you can handle this Lord.”  You are limiting God!  God has the authority over everything, He always has, and He always will.  Would you like someone to not trust you, especially knowing with you, nothing is impossible?  God probably does hard things for breakfast!

So if you believe in God, act like it!

It’s okay to ask God for help to believe in his power and might.  In Mark 9:24 a man cries out, ““Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”  If you do, soon you will be living in freedom, and those around you will be amazed and your confidence in God will be a witness to others.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Stella, This Ain’t Hollywood

20170921_092347I watched a good movie the other night.  I won’t say which one, because I am going to give away the ending, and I don’t believe in “spoiler alerts!”  The movie was about a father and a son, and their relationship.  At the end of the movie the two were out fishing, and the father finally said some words his son had waited a very long time to hear, and then the father died.  I lost it.  Tears all over the couch.  It was a real mess that even challenged “Bounty”, the quicker picker upper!

The truth is, the last few months my father was alive was difficult.  He was acting out of fear and it hurt.  I saw one of my father’s old friends last week, and he told me my father started fearing me controlling his life before I ever moved back to my home town after retirement to assist him as he wanted and needed.  So by the time I had gotten here, my father had it in his mind how life would go, but it didn’t, and he refused to accept it, because it wasn’t the reality he had built up in his mind.  I’m so glad though, four days before my father passed, we had a nice, peaceful, fun conversation.

Why am I sharing this?  To vindicate myself?  No.  I know in my heart and before God how I treated my father, but the point is, I wanted my father’s last days to be his best days.  I dreamed of my father and I out fishing.  Having a nice day.  Lots of laughs, and because he loved to fish, dad finally catching his trophy fish.  Me, snapping a picture, and dad releasing the fish back into the lake, and then passing on, similar to the movie I mentioned above.  But this ain’t Hollywood, and life doesn’t go like the well scripted, command performance acting, as in the movies.

So when life doesn’t go as scripted, what do we do?  We give it to God, and we do everything to love the other people in the scene as best as we can.  Love endures, remembers no wrong, and writes a great ending because love, always wins. (Love – 1 Cor. 13)

(The title of this post came from the Christian rock group, DeGarmo & Key, from 1980)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What If, “What If,” Never Happens?

Charlie 24WHAT IF’S:  Its sad, but so many live in fear.  What makes it worse is, they don’t think they do.  They deny it.  You talk about being deceived by the devil.  They believe his lies instead of Truth.  They roll play, “Well what if…” this happens, or that happens?  You want to know the truth?  Many times, those “What if’s” never happen!  They only steal your time thinking about them, and worrying about them.  Even worse, living bound up by those fears hurts others, especially those who know the Truth, who know Jesus, who have themselves been set free.  The battle is fear vs faith. Terror vs trust.  Fear and terror may never happen, but faith and trust always does!

You can annihilate the “What if’s” with “God, if’s”

GOD, IF’S:  When something in life comes up, and you don’t know what is going to happen, or how things are going to turn out, instead of worry and fear, instead of “Well, what if?”, you can simply pray, “God, if you will take care of this for me.”  Or, “God, if you will walk with me through this.”

Living like this will calm your mind, calm your spirit man down to where you can walk, and live in peace.  How else would one walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil?  This is how you can sit, and relax enough to eat, at a table, in the presence of your enemies. (Psalms 23)

The battle is in the mind.  You must learn to rethink how you look at things and situations.

Look at things from God’s point of view!

Asking God, will break the chains of fear, and will set you free.  You will feel better, because now, you will breath like you have never drawn a breath before.  You will skip down the sidewalk, because of the joy you now feel.  Because of the Light in your life instead of darkness.  Okay, perhaps you won’t actually skip, but you will want to.

“God, I thank you personally, that we have an alternative we can choose from.  In you, and in your strength, we can flip the environment.  Just knowing we don’t have to live in bondage is liberating in itself.  I love you God, and I know you love me, and everyone, and especially those who have read this battle plan to defeat the devil.  You’re so awesome.  Thanks!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.