Search Me?

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life. Ps. 139:23-24 (MSG)

It takes guts to pray the above prayer.  Most of us don’t want to face the truth of who we really are.  And in fact go great lengths at times to hide the darker side of ourselves, from others, and even from ourselves.  My pastor last Sunday challenged us to do just that.  To have God examine us and see if there was any wrong in us.  Whether deeds, motives, or actions.

There are some people that have such an intense time facing who they really are that they try their best to stay busy.  One guy I know said he is always looking for the next party.  The worst time for these people is when they are alone in the dark and they can’t sleep, their conscience begins to speak.  That is probably why these same people medicate themselves before going to bed so they do not have to listen to their inner voice.

That inner voice is doing its job.  It’s trying hard to get a person to face truth.  Truth they have done some things in life that were wrong and they are in need of having those things forgiven.  Another force at work is that of the Holy Spirit.  One of his jobs is to draw us to God via the forgiving power of Jesus.

If you find yourself in this situation the only thing to do is yield.  Give up trying to write your own religion and accept the relationship that God has already provided.  Say to God, “then guide me on the road to eternal life.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Contentment Rules

His eyes take it all in.  He sees and hears things that he does not know what they are, but he is okay.  Why is he okay, even though he doesn’t understand?  Because he looks at his mother and father and observes how they are reacting to those things.  He remains calm, because they remain calm. He is content.

This child is one year old.  He is adorable.  He can be in the company of adults and yet his personality does not distract from what the adults are doing.  Of course he has needs, like hunger, but somehow he doesn’t have to tell his parents he is hungry, they know and they feed him.  He knows his every need will be met. He trusts them, so he doesn’t have to cry out to make his needs known.

As I witnessed this child, and the above thoughts went through my head, I started comparing my own contentment to this child’s.  It wasn’t long before I realized what the child was doing that made him an expert in contentment.

The child focused on his mother and father.

When we are in situations we do not know what is happening or why, we need to keep our focus on our heavenly Father.  We need to watch and see how He is reacting to the news, the weather, our boss, and our family members, to anything that personally affects us.  Is God running around like a chicken with its head cut off screaming, “Now what?” or is God remaining calm therefore we can remain calm?

The child didn’t have to cry out in order to get his “needs” met.

God knows what we have need of.  “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Mat.6:8 (NIV)   It’s about knowing God and trusting him.

True contentment brings peace.  This kind of contentment allows you to sleep, and experience true rest. A calmness that, at times, can’t be explained.  Others will be in amazed when they see it.  That is what it is like when contentment rules.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Why I Keep Posting

I have posted 525 blogs in the last eight years.  This site has been seen by over 20,000 people, which is humbling.  I do realize there are a lot of bloggers who have far exceeded these numbers.  New followers come along every week, and now are in the hundreds.  That’s doing great considering Jesus only had 12.  But I’m tired.

There is one stat that keeps me going.  This blog has been read in 120 countries out of 167. (Depends on whose list of countries you agree with.)  Why does this one fact affect me so much?  When I was a child, growing up in church, I heard the great commission:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Mat. 28:19 (KJV)

I wanted to do this, but I remember thinking, “How?  I’m just a kid in Oklahoma!”  I underestimated God, and of course I had no knowledge of the Internet, but in the late 60s very few did as it was still in its prehistoric state.

The fact that this blog could potentially educate someone in every country around the world about God, and the love of God keeps me going.  As well as some have told me these blogs have changed their life.  All I can say is, “Only God!”

Every post starts with the same question, “God, what do you want to say to your people?”  Then I do what I can to hear his reply and then write out that message.  I thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read these blogs.  I pray for God to make himself real in your life.

Blessings

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

But is it Good?

Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Reduced Iron, B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid)], Corn Syrup, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat), Whole Eggs, Dextrose. Contains 2% or Less of: Modified Corn Starch, Glucose, Leavenings (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate), Sweet Dairy Whey, Soy Protein Isolate, Calcium and Sodium Caseinate, Salt, Mono and Diglycerides, Polysorbate 60, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour, Cornstarch, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness), Yellow 5, Red 40.

But is it good?

The above ingredients were a staple in my “Six Million Dollar Man”, metal lunchbox while I was a kid.  I loved them!  But were they good?  They were.

The above ingredients are also some famous lines from the famous movie, “Die Hard”.  And they were the subject of Woody Harrelson’s endless search in the movie, “Zombieland.”

In case you don’t know by now; “Twinkies”.  But in order to know if they are good you have to taste them.

God understood this principle.  He actually wrote, in his number one best seller, “The Bible”, this:  Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see how good God is. PS. 34:8 (MSG)

In order to know how good God is, you have try him for yourself.  I can tell you how good God is, and I can describe the wonderful delight, joy and comfort of knowing God on a personal level, because I tried him.  I have tasted of the goodness of God.  I have savored his mercies, his peace, and his guidance as well.  In fact going back for seconds and thirds and fourths, and … well you get the point, for more is not a problem.  When you have tried God, you want more of God.  There is nothing that compares to him and his presence.

Go ahead!  Open your mouth and taste.

He is good!

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.

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.

Love at First Sight

“No!  I won’t allow it,” said the editor of my novel, “Kill the Preacher Man”.  (Not yet published.)  “I write romance novels, and love doesn’t happen that fast,” she went on to say.  I considered her chastising comments and thought, I’m not writing a romance novel!  Besides, over my many years, I have heard several stories where one, or the other of a married couple knew early on they had met their mate.  I myself have fallen in love with a woman at first sight.  Twice!  The second one, I married.

My current wife, I first saw a postage size photo of her, and said, “Wow!  Who is that?”  I wanted to click on her profile first and find out more about her.  I know now, what I saw that Friday afternoon, was the love of God in her.  I have written about it before in a post titled, “The April Affect”.  God’s love is so strong in her that people who have never met her are attracted to her.  Especially children.

So if it is possible to fall in love with someone at first sight, then shouldn’t it be possible to fall in love with God at first sight?  After all, we are made in his image.  Now not everyone acts like God, but that’s the individual’s fault, not Gods.

Yes, there are some that are crazy about God right after they meet him.  They accept his free gift of salvation and feel instant relief from the burden of sin, and they go around telling everybody about their new love.

For others, it seems as if their love of God grows as the relationship grows.  As they learn, or discover the benefits of being in a relationship with God they appreciate and their love for him grows.

A popular church proclaims, “For whoever finds God, finds life.”  I like to say, “For whoever finds God, finds love.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Can You Hear Me Now?

When a friend of mine was in Tokyo, and getting ready to board a plane heading to Chicago, he looked out the window and noticed an airplane from Taiwan Airways. A few days later, he realized God was speaking to him about moving to Taiwan.  A year later he learned no such airline existed.  God used an open vision to help speak to him about his future.

Fast forward three years: my friend, now living in Taiwan, is currently seeing area codes of a particular major city in the United States.  We were discussing this the other day, and I reminded him, “God doesn’t always speak to us in the same way every time.  He loves being creative, and changing things up.”

God doesn’t get bored!

God is so creative.  His imagination didn’t stop after creation.  His designs of interacting with his children is genius, and can be fun as well.  God also has a lot to say.  He will share things with you if you ask him to, and if you take the time.

The devil can stir up trouble and emotions in us, and in our lives that hinder us from hearing God. Those are the times we need to focus harder on listening to him.  God speaks to us in so many different ways.  Through his word, the Bible, via dreams, through our pastor and friends.  He can use anything that we see, hear, smell, touch, speak, or even taste.

“For God may speak in one way, or in another, Yet man does not perceive it.” Job 33:14 (NKJV)

One of his specialties is using his creation to speak.  A coworker, several years ago, was questioning if God existed.  He went on vacation to the Grand Canyon where he sat on the rim, and found his answer.

One of the best ways to hear God is to get quiet.  Many times it is when we are still we finally are able to hear his gentle Spirit whisper to our soul.

“Be still, and know that I am God…” Ps. 46:10 (KJV)

Remember; just because God has spoken to you before, or even several times in a particular way, it doesn’t mean he is this time.  Nor count on him speaking to you the way he spoke to someone else.  When a famous person preaches on how God spoke to them, or how God used them to accomplish something, or to receive healing, don’t run home and try to follow a recipe and expect the same result.  Doing so and not receiving an identical outcome can cause you to get disgruntled with God.

So, when God ask, “Can you hear me now?” I hope your answer will always be, “Yes, Lord, your servant is listening.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.