April

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April Joy Cruz Brady

Say this next line in the voice of an announcer introducing a movie:

In a world, where it seems as if there is more hate than air…

It’s a fresh breath to meet someone that lives out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a which informs us what real love is.  The test, to see if you are love, is to insert your name everywhere it says “love”, and then to add the proper pronoun before the word, “Doesn’t”.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Although perfect for me, my wife, April is not perfect, but she comes as close as anyone I have ever met who can pass this test.  The only way to be real love is to be like God, because God is love.

To you April, with love.

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.

Place Your Life Before God

Charlie 011120Why are you reading this blog when you could be reading God’s words for yourself?  I’m glad you read this blog, as humbling as it is, but this portion of scripture, Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2, from The Message Bible, was just too good not to share.

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A Promise Fulfilled

Carlie 04.2Many years ago, like 33 of them, I left full time ministry.  I had been a youth pastor in two different churches.  I left under circumstances that should have never taken place.  I then entered my own desert and had my own version of Mt. Sinai to march around.

I was so mad for allowing Satan to deceive me into thinking my sin was right, but after all, that’s his specialty.  Thinking I would never again get to minister to people, hurt beyond belief, and one of the things I enjoyed the most was preaching from behind a pulpit.

A friend wrote me a letter as I was entering the desert.  She said she was praying for me and she shared a word she got from God for me.  Jeremiah 31:4   It says, “I will rebuild you and you shall be rebuilt.”

I hid that word from God in my heart for those many years waiting and wondering how God would fulfill his promise.

Tomorrow, at First Baptist Church in Prue, Oklahoma, I will get to stand behind the pulpit once again and minister to God’s people.  I am a little nervous, but excited at the same time.  I trust this is the first of many opportunities to minister around the world.

I am so grateful to my loving God, for caring so much for me that he would not leave me wondering in the desert, but showed me the exit.  After all, the gritty sand had done its work.  I was ready!

I am also thankful to Pastor Garry McDevitt for listening to God, trusting me and giving me this opportunity.  He is doing a great work for God in the community, as people are accepting Jesus and getting baptized almost every week.

Be encouraged, you have not done so much that God can’t use you.  He loves humble, willing, remorseful, ordinary people to do his work.  Oh, and he will help you get the sand out of, well, everywhere!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Perfect Vision

charlie 2020Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions?  I used to, but honestly if I had this year I’m sure one of them would be broken before I could finish this blog post.

Last year though I did manage to change how I think about what is going on around me.  You see, when I become aware of a situation going on around me that is less than what would please God I take steps to change it.  I’m actually writing a book about it titled (so far), “It’s Time to Ask, Flip and Invite”.  Because it has come to my knowledge publishers don’t want to print a book that has been fully or even partially shared in any format I cannot give you the details.

I can share this though because it is not in the book:

When you bring every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:5), and put the correct value on it, soon, how you think will change.  That in turns, changes your heart, or what you believe.  Once your heart has changed, it will change how you speak, for from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

You might say I am getting 2020 vision!  If only more people would see things the way God sees them.  Then, they might stop getting offended in their minds, at the drop of a hat, and damaging their hearts and vomiting hate all over the news, work places and especially on social media.  The only way to see things clearly is to see them from God’s point of view.

This might be one goal that is worth resolving this year.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

No Plan “B”

NoPlanB-01What if Mary had said, “No” to God when he asked her to have his Son?  After all, many have said, “No” to God perhaps out of fear, or not wanting to risk, or sacrifice anything.  Did He have a plan “B”?  Was there an understudy waiting in the wings for her big chance?

I heard a story of a man who grew up very different from the rest of his family.  You see, they all went to the same church, but the others, in his family, resisted when God tried to change them from the inside out.  They evidently, just wanted enough of Jesus to escape hell.  He wondered, and so did those who heard his story of the way his family treated him and others, how, or why he didn’t turn out like them.  His father passed away, and as he was walking through the now empty house, he felt God’s Spirit whisper to him, “While you were growing up in this house, I kept my hand tight around your heart, because I knew one day, you would give it to me.”

“So God, who knows the heart,…”
Acts 15:8 (NKJV)

God knew He didn’t need a plan “B”, because He knew Mary would agree to his will. God knew Mary’s heart belonged to him, so Christmas went off without a hitch, and the rest of God’s plan did as well.  What, or who have you given your heart to?

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

CSI

Charlie 89I used to drive fast.  I mean, really fast, or perhaps I should say, “stupidly fast!”  In the early eighties, in Massachusetts, I was driving my Chevette.  Okay, you can stop laughing now.  As I was going up a hill and into a sharp turn to my left I saw a car coming fast, straight for me in my lane.  It was going to be a head on collision and I said to myself, Oh this is going to hurt!  But right before the point of impact I shut my eyes hard, and screamed, “Oh God!”

My car kept moving around the bend in the road, but my body moved back into the seat and then forward.  I remember thinking, what?  When I looked in my rear view mirror, the car was so close behind me I couldn’t see the license plate.  Did the other car go through me?

If you could go back and examine the scenes of your life.  The ones that astounded you, surprised you, or perhaps hurt you the most.  You might be compelled to look for clues to answer those nagging, lingering questions like, “How did this happen?”

If you could dust the scene for finger prints to find out who all was involved, you know like a crime scene investigator, would it surprise you if you detected God’s fingerprints?

Not that He was the one who did the damage, but that He was there.  Most likely keeping you from being killed, or injured more severely.  Perhaps it was him who got you out of there or got you help in a timely manner.  How many times have you shared your story and have actually heard people respond something like, “Wow, God was definitely with you.”

I think we will all be surprised when we learn, how involved in our lives, God was.  Either he did it because he loves those who call him Father, or he did it hoping you would feel his love and involvement and choose to love him back.  Either way, he loved!

“The Lord your God is in your midst;
he is a warrior who can deliver.
He takes great delight in you;
he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NET Bible)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Knowing Jesus

Christmas 19cThere is a popular Christmas song, which I love, “Mary, Did You Know?”  A few years ago I turned the words around and wrote a blog post titled, “When did Mary Know?” (12/20/15)

Like how did she know he could turn water into wine before she asked him to?  When did she know he could heal the sick and set the captive free?  Or walk on water, and feed 5000 men?

I can picture Mary with Jesus on her lap talking, asking questions, and then Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet as he shared stories of the creation, and from the Old Testament.  I think she knew because she had spent a lot of time with God’s Son.  She knew him, but more importantly, she believed in him.

Imagine what you would ask Jesus to do if you really knew him.  Would you ask him to heal you, a friend or a family member?  What about heal your finances, or your broken relationships?  Would you ask for a better job, food, or a place to live of your own?  My point isn’t to get things from Jesus, but believing in him enough to ask.  Knowing that he could if that was best for you.

Sometimes it’s better to go through something than to be delivered from it.

It is good to spend time with Jesus no matter your circumstances.  This Christmas, I pray you find time to sit and just hang out with him.  Put on some Christmas music too.  After all, He is the reason for the season.

‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’ Matthew 15:9 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Don’t just worship Jesus because it’s Christmas, and don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, because it will be over before you know it.  And so will your life, and after that you’ll have lots of time to spend with Jesus, oh, if you accepted him when you were on earth.

Knowing Jesus intimately, is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and others all year long.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

For Real?

Charlie 29I came across a YouTube video this morning where Pastor Joel Osteen interviewed Kanye West concerning his testimony of accepting Jesus Christ as God’s Son, and asking forgiveness for his sins.

Being transparent here; I had the thought, “Is this for real, or is Kanye doing this for some other reason?”  I know.  A bad thought, right?  I corrected myself fast.  I don’t know Kanye personally, but God does, and God also knows his heart.

I imagine Saul, who became the Apostle Paul had a similar issue.  Here is this man, who made it his mission, to kill off all those who professed to believe in Jesus now finding himself to be a believer also.  Who would trust him, within an inch of their lives, when he said he’s not going to kill them, but only wanted to tell them about Jesus?  Time proved Paul was for real, and he went on to lead a lot of people to Christ, that is when he wasn’t writing two thirds of the New Testament Bible.

Time will tell us if Kanye is for real as well.  In the meantime, perhaps his large platform will allow him to share the love of God with millions.  Regardless of your own thoughts, or opinions concerning this issue, we should all be praying for Kanye West.

“Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” Ephesians 6:18 (MSG)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.