Wife of the Month

090120I would like to nominate April for “Wife of the Month”.  For the month of September, she can use the special parking space.  That is, if she was here in America, and if she could drive.  She has completed the immigration process, but can’t take the final step because her country is still in “lock down” mode, so the U.S. Embassy isn’t doing interviews.  Being separated is difficult, but I can see how God has used it for His glory thus far.

Last week, I sent her the following message, and though it is personal, she agreed to let me share it:

Baby, I love you! I simply love you, because you have God’s DNA in you, and it shows. In you is peace, joy, faith, hope and love. Of course the greatest of these is, love. Because love, never fails! Baby, when you look back over our short marriage, you can see a trail of love that has dripped over the mountains we have overcome, and across the ocean that separates us now. Without love, God’s love, we would not have come this far. The story of “Mark and April” would have been a short one, but as it is, our story, is still being written.

I couldn’t wait any longer Baby April. I know our 18 month anniversary isn’t until next week, September 1st, but I just had to let the words above out. I was unable to contain them any longer. So Happy Anniversary, April. I am so happy to be known as the American, who married April Joy Santiago Cruz, and has so far, survived.  I am a lucky man who is blessed by God. He loved me so much that He hid you from the eyes of others, for such a time as this. I know two, maybe three of those men looked your way, but because of your wonderful faithfulness to God they gave up in their pursuit.

Our story, feels like it is taking forever to be written, but I know we are steadily moving every day toward his destination for our lives. Baby April, each day it gets easier to love you, because you, like God, are love.

To you April, the love of my life,
Mark

I am grateful for God’s love, and for his tender nudge to try marriage again, after checking the “Divorced” box for 24 years.  April struggled with her singleness a lot, and most who knew her started believing  “marriage” had passed her by.  But God had a plan that took years to connect two individuals who were 8,149 miles apart.  It’s like He set her on a shelf, so she would be available for me that one Friday afternoon, in October 2018, when I first saw her face on a Filipino dating site.

It’s hard to trust God, who doesn’t always share what He is up to, but when you do, it’s worth it!  God is so amazing, and I am so grateful, He first loved us.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If the Dead Could Speak, Would You Listen?

Charlie 666If death somehow gave us truths we didn’t have or didn’t believe while living what would we do with it?  Most, would probably want to come back to life to tell those they love and others what they now know.  One thing is for sure, when a person dies, they know in an instant there is a God, and there is judgement for how they lived and best, or worst of all, that there is indeed a heaven, and a hell.

Jesus told a true story about such a request from a dead man:

“There once was a rich man, expensively dressed in the latest fashions, wasting his days in conspicuous consumption. A poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, had been dumped on his doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

“Then he died, this poor man, and was taken up by the angels to the lap of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell and in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham in the distance and Lazarus in his lap. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, mercy! Have mercy! Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water to cool my tongue. I’m in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you got the good things and Lazarus the bad things. It’s not like that here. Here he’s consoled and you’re tormented. Besides, in all these matters there is a huge chasm set between us so that no one can go from us to you even if he wanted to, nor can anyone cross over from you to us.’

“The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’

“Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’

“‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’

“Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’”  Luke 16:19-31 (MSG)

Jesus told the people straight up, believe me, believe the Word of God (Bible), believe the many ministers, evangelist, missionaries, family members, friends, co-workers, and yes, bloggers that I have sent to tell you the Good News of the Gospel while you are living.  That is; accept Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing.  After you die, and see these truths for yourself, it will be too late for you to choose God.  You say, it’s too hard to believe in something, or someone you can’t see, yet you believe in gravity, and the wind!  It takes faith, and God gave everyone a measure of faith to get you started.  Please act on it.  Don’t live, or should I say die, to regret your decision.

One last thing; “Thank you,” to everyone who reads this blog regularly, or once in a while.  Each post starts with prayer, asking God what He wants to say to you.  I do my best to transmit his words to your hearts.  I pray for you as I write, “Words, inspiring you to grow in God”.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God, Help!

Charlie 8978Should it turn left or right?  Come to think of it, I have never turned the water off at the street.  The valve was hard to turn as well.  I got frustrated, and while looking down into the dirty, yucky, spider enticing hole in the ground I said, “God, I need help.”  I literally looked up, from the hole, and down the street, about three houses away, was a city water department truck.  I tell you the truth, the truck was not there when I started the task.  I walked to the truck and the employee drove down to my house and helped me.

Then, with the water turned off, I was ready to remove a leaking valve in the bathroom.  I could not get the valve to come off.  Again frustrated, “God, I need help again.”  I called a place, I trusted, to get a number for a plumber they trusted.  No one could come out that day unless it was after hours which would have cost a lot!  Then, the woman on the phone transferred my call to what I pictured was a grey haired pipe wrench turner wearing blue denim overalls.  I explained my situation and he told me what type of plumbing I had and how to fix it.  It worked.  No charge, even though I called back and offered to pay for their knowledge.

God does know you, and He sees where you are, and what you going through, but more than that, He cares.

He wants to help you, and He wants to bless you.  What loving father doesn’t want to do good things for their children?  If you have accepted him, then there should nothing holding you back from asking for help in your time of need, even for every day stuff.  Here is a scripture of God’s promise to us:

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!” Psalm 91:14-16 The Message (MSG)

“Hey God, Thanks!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

But They Go to Church

Charlie 33There it is.  Another ugly, races, hateful, hurtful word from one I know very well.  “I don’t understand,” has been cried out to God many times after one of their zingers comes out of their mouth.  “God, why do they still feel, act, and say these things?  After all, they go to church!”

Just the other day, when this happened again, I questioned heaven for understanding, I sensed the Lord spoke and said, “But church doesn’t go to them.”  It was in that moment I realized that even though they go to church every time the doors are open, the doors to their heart are closed!  They might even be locked, boarded up with a sign posted, “No Trespassing”.

Jane Rubietta writes, in her book, Come Closer,

“After all, what difference does the gospel make if it doesn’t make a difference, right?”

The word of God should change us, and make us more like Jesus.  It should soften our heart toward others.  Does that mean be tolerant of their sins?  Not at all, but give us understanding as to why they act out like they do.

So what do we do when someone we kind of have to be around says or does something that hurts?  We pray for them as we stand up for Truth, and then we surround them with love.  God’s love, perfect love, is the only key to opening the doors to their wounded hearts.  They must see love, hear love, and feel loved even after they hurt us or others.

If the message they hear at church isn’t getting through, then the love they witness from us just might.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Problem or Opportunity?

Charlie 777I ordered an item from Kohl’s.  I was looking forward to its arrival as it was going to be a gift for someone I love, a lot!  (My wife!  Who were you thinking of?  By the way, don’t tell her because she doesn’t know.)  Can you feel my disappointment when it didn’t arrive on the promised date(s)?  I tracked it, and learned it couldn’t be delivered for some reason, not disclosed to me.  So the item was sent back.

Was I mad?  No, but not happy about the situation either.  I like things to go smooth, and I am allergic to “problems”.  I looked on Kohl’s website to see what could be done when the bill arrives, but the package doesn’t.  I found an 800 number.  I called and John answered. (Name changed to protect the loved.)  John listened and then looked to see what he needed to do to resolve the “problem”.  While he was working, I mentioned living in the Philippines.  John said, “That’s where I am right now.”  Yes, Kohl’s has a call center in Manila.

When John informed me of his whereabouts, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me.  I said, “John, can I put you on my prayer list?”  He agreed that was okay, but asked why..  I answered by saying, “John, I sense you have an issue going on in your life right now that bothers you, or is hurting you.”  “I do,” John said.  I continued, “God knows it, and He wants you to know how much He loves you.  He loves you so much John, that He allowed me to have a “problem”, so you would have an “opportunity”, to know He sees you and how much He loves you.  My missing package was no accident!”  John was receptive.

If we, who believe in God, will stop complaining about “problems”, and look for “opportunities” for God to show his mighty hand, it would change our attitude, and a result of a changed attitude is it could change the life of someone else and change the world.  Isn’t that what Jesus called us to do?

NOTE:  Did you happen to notice Kohl’s very own tag line?  “Expect great things”.  What a statement of faith!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.