My First Christmas in America

by April Joy Brady (Mark’s wife)

This is my first Christmas in America.  My previous ones have been in my home country of the Philippines.  People’s attitudes here toward Christmas are a lot different than there.  It seems as if some of the people are forgetting the real reason for Christmas.  Some even go as far as to remove “Christ” from the word Christmas with “X-mas”.  It makes me wonder if they have removed Christ from their hearts as well.  I’m not trying to be judging, it would be difficult not to be that way growing up here in America, with constantly being bombarded with TV ads and popular culture.

This season here seems to be more about parties, gifts, and where to spend the holiday.  When in the Philippines, where resources don’t flow so freely, Christmas tends to be much simpler, and we are happy to get to see family and share a simple meal, and laugh.  There is a lot of laughter back home.  I imagine Jesus’s first Christmas was simple as well.  Mary and Joseph adoring their new born son, lying still in a feeding trough with some hay, and perhaps an animal’s covering over him.  A far cry from a beautiful wooden crib from Ashley Furniture with blankets from Macys!

I think I have been blessed to have my previous life and Christmas’ in the Philippines.  I hope in the years to come I do not stray too far from my roots, especially when it comes to the attitude of what Christmas really is, or supposed to be about.

I will enjoy the time spent with my husband and the gifts he has bought for me as well as the other gifts from friends and coworkers, but in my heart I will be in Bethlehem, humming, “Away in the Manger”.

Merry Christmas everyone.  May Christ fill your hearts with his love.

April

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Cook Was Sick

The other day, while at a restaurant, I commented, to my wife how the beef and broccoli wasn’t as good as it normally is.  She replied, “Well, maybe the cook is sick.”  I laughed and thought she was just being silly.  She’s often funny like that, but she went on to explain how that phrase was a real thing in the Philippines.

I was intrigued and thought about this.  So what she was saying was. The food wasn’t at its best, because of sickness.  Isn’t that like us at times, servants of God?  When we allow sin into our life we are not at our best.  We do things, small perhaps, but they allow sin into our lives, and sin, is sickness, which can, if ignored, lead to death, spiritual and even physical. We miss opportunities to speak of the love of God.  To testify of his glory.  We miss experiences with others that can lift someone up, or encourage them.

A “diet” is defined as: the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats, or a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. 

It seems as if some people restrict God from their life, and boy, do they ever pay for it.

Those who live by their own rules, not God’s, can expect nothing but trouble,
    and the longer they live, the worse it gets.
Every little sound terrifies them.
    Just when they think they have it made, disaster strikes.
They despair of things ever getting better—
    they’re on the list of people for whom things always turn out for the worst.
They wander here and there,
    never knowing where the next meal is coming from—
    every day is doomsday!
They live in constant terror,
    always with their backs up against the wall
Because they insist on shaking their fists at God,
    defying God Almighty to his face,
Always and ever at odds with God,
    always on the defensive. Job 15:18-26 (MSG)

Even though they may look fine on the outside, things are not healthy on the inside, and just like your body, it will manifest.

As God can be restricted, so can sin, but it’s a choice.  When we encounter an opportunity to sin we can call out to God to help, for when we are weak, He is strong, therefore we are strong. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Just as maintaining a healthy diet and saying, “No” to things we shouldn’t partake of helps us continue to be strong, we should maintain a healthy balanced diet built on God.  A diet of prayer, reading God’s word, and taking action to serve God as he directs.

It would be a shame for someone to encounter us, and leave with a bad taste in their mouth, because we were not at our best.  Remember this; as children of God, we are always reflections of our Heavenly Father.  And people do watch us constantly, looking for a reason to not accept God.  Their favorite excuse is this, “If they are a so called Christian, then that’s not for me, because I don’t want to be like them.”  Yes, it’s true we are forgiven, but they do not understand such things yet, for they have not experienced that forgiveness for themselves.  So be careful, every day.  Stay healthy, and stay good.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Home Cooked Meals

HotpotIn the last blog post I mentioned a friend living overseas who had not found a church yet where he is getting a steady diet of spiritual nutrition.  Not that he hasn’t tried.

We are very fortunate here in America to have many churches where the pastor feeds the people the word of God, and we can turn on the TV at any time of the day and find religious programming.  Now hold on, I agree there are some that are much better than others.  In fact there is a very small list of who I will give my time to.  There is also opportunity to see some speakers of God’s messages on YouTube as well.

My approach in preparing to speak publicly is this, I pray and ask God what He wants to say.  I call this process getting the meal plan.  Then I want to get God’s recipe for the items He wants to serve.  In other words, I don’t want to say the same thing the way I would, but I want to say those things the way God would if He was standing in front of the people himself.  This step is my studying.  Then, when I speak I serve God’s meal, his words, to the people.

Your pastor feeds you every week.  When a guest speaker talks, it’s like eating out!

After more discussion with my friend, he got revelation that he needed to stop relying so much on others to feed him, and start preparing home cooked meals.  We aren’t talking about TV dinners that you heat up in 4 minutes either.  He is going to get back into God’s word.  He is going to study.  He’s going to pray.  He is going to cook his own meals as God directs.  He may have to eat alone, but then he can eat as much as he wants, and after he is full he can then go out and feed others.

Dietitians have been telling us for years that eating healthy foods, prepared at home is good for us.  There is nothing wrong with eating out.  There is nothing wrong with going to church and eating with others.  There is nothing wrong with ministers on TV or via social media, as long as they are preaching the word of God, but remember to have a balanced diet.

“He poured great draughts of water down parched throats;
the starved and hungry got plenty to eat.” Psalms 107:9 (MSG)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Dinner is Almost Ready

Charlie 103Growing up, my father always got home at 4:30 PM.  The family would be sitting at the table, have prayed, and start eating by 4:33 PM.  My mother had this super power of having all the food ready on time.  Although, I didn’t realize what a talent that was until I got older and tried it myself.

I knew exactly when we were going to eat, but whenever company was invited over, it was a crap shoot.  “Mom, I’m hungry!  When are we going to eat?” I would ask.  “Dinner is ready, so as soon as they get here,” she would reply.

There is something about sitting down to dinner together with family, or friends.  Your day is pretty much over.  You get to partake of the multiple flavors of the food presented on the table.  The conversation, the laughing, it’s all very relaxing.  I look forward to it.

The Angel said to me, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those invited to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.’” Revelation 19:9 (MSG)

This scripture promises there will be a dinner in heaven, but not just any dinner, a wedding dinner!  Those are usually the best, and knowing from other scriptures in the Bible there will be more than enough food.  The reason the angel said, “blessed are those invited” is, it means those who will be there made the right choice in believing God, and Jesus as his Son, and then accepted Jesus, and lived for him.  We will be the bride of Christ.

That’s great news, but it means even more for me.  This world is getting so corrupt, so anti-Christ.  Hate is running rampant, wrong is becoming right.  It all wears me out, but I remain hopeful, knowing that God has it all.  But by the time we get to that table in heaven, it will mean, it’s over!  I look forward to it.  Now we can rest, eat, relax, share, and laugh.

You have been invited to this table, in fact, everyone has.  You can make sure you have a seat by accepting Jesus into your life, but don’t keep putting it off, because

dinner is almost ready.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.