Being Pursued

I asked my wife, April the other day if she felt guilty for living in America now, knowing the rest of her family and friends were still in the Philippines.  I think I would, at least a little.  But her immediate reply was profound, and full of wisdom.  She said, “No.  Not at all.  For God has bestowed upon me “favor” for all of my sacrifices.”  Her response surprised me, and after more pondering I realized it was true, and balanced.

Is this the realization of the verse in Psalms 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”?

My friend and I were discussing this issue, and he mentioned hearing a message where the minister talked about “favor” pursuing you.  Hunting you down, if you will.  I take that as meaning this; blessings coming your way and upon your life before you even ask God for help or even perhaps before you are aware you have a need.

So how does one enter a life of being pursued?  By fully, completely placing all of your trust and faith in God.  Walking and communicating with God on a daily basis.  Doing your best to live according to his commands.  By the way, those commands don’t exist to “harsh your mellow”, but to actually give you a good life free from hurt, pain, and harm.

In the last month my wife and I have had some blessings come our way and they were unexpected.  We weren’t looking for them, but they found us.  We appreciate it a lot and are thankful we have favor with God.  He loves his children and wants to do good things for He is a loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“God is Good”

Every time a friend of mine hears that statement he responds, “All the time!”  And you know what?  He’s right.  “Good” is part of God’s nature.  He can’t help himself but be good.  When I was in Africa I learned, they also respond in the same way.

Why is it important to remember this part of God’s nature?  Because we live in a world that tries to tell us who and what God is, yet they don’t even know him.  Some have never even made his acquaintance.

“Pinpointing precisely how many religions there are in the world today is next to impossible, although some estimate the number exceeds four thousand. The vast majority of those faiths are contained within a handful of major religious groups.” (By Mary Fairchild, updated 03/22/21)

It’s this kind of “I know how to get to God” that has caused mankind to create over four thousand “religions”.  What is a religion?  In a nut shell, its man’s way to God, but technically;

“Religion can briefly be defined as a specific belief system about God or gods expressed through a code of conduct, ethics, forms of worship, and rituals. Religion includes social, ethical, and ceremonial elements combined with the belief in an unseen world and often a deity.”

Mary Fairchild

This is why it is important to know and accept “God’s way to man”, which is through “relationship”.  It is through his son, Jesus.  By accepting that He is God’s son and asking him to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing, and then inviting him to live and dwell in your heart.  All that means is live like Jesus did.

To love on people like Jesus did.  To value, and spend time with people like Jesus did.  To walk with them in life and show them there is a better way to live.  That, it is possible to have life, now on earth and to have it abundantly!

God is good, and in recent days He has shown himself extra good to my wife and me.  He has lead us to a ministry that we are excited about, and we are getting in on the ground floor.  But even in the valleys, and the days seem so dark, and so long, God is still good.  It’s in those days we have to lean in a little closer to him, and ask him for help.  To get to your destination you have to travel.  Some journeys take you through some pretty rough neighborhoods, over rough terrain, or stormy seas, but none of that diminishes God’s goodness.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

God Day

Okay, I do realize that this coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, but at the time of this writing it is the anniversary of my father’s death, so I was thinking about him as well.  Then a thought came flying down the big brain bypass.  I say “big brain” not because I am smart, but because I am always thinking.  The thought was, “What would God want for “God Day”?

Pastor Robert Morris says, “To find Biblical answers, you must look in the Bible.”

“I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live. And love God, your God, listening obediently to him, firmly embracing him. Oh yes, he is life itself, a long life settled on the soil that God, your God, promised to give your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
Deu. 30:19-20 MSG.

God wants you to have life now and for eternity.  He wants to talk, yes talk to you.  He has a lot to say.  He created man in the first place to have someone who would choose to love him back by their own doing.  He wants to have a great relationship with you.  He hopes you will choose him, which is choosing life.

God is amazing.  He made us, therefore we belonged to him, but He gave us the freedom to choose to love him.  Then, after Adam and Eve sinned and mankind was doomed to eternal death, God gave us his only son to die a brutal death on a cross that purchased us back to God.  But then He did the most unselfish thing one could do afterwards, He gave us that freewill again to decide for ourselves if we want to love him.

God wants us to have a life full of the fruit of the spirit.  You know, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  That means, no one can police them, regulate them, market them, or stop them, but all mankind can profit from them.

Don’t you see?  God wants nothing but good for you, but the only thing He wants from you, is your heart.  I hope you have already given it to him, or you will, soon, perhaps even today.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Two Things that Make Me Cry

Yes, I still own a “Man Card”!  Stopping and asking for directions doesn’t make me any less of a man.  In fact, it demonstrates I don’t have an issue with pride.  So there!  LOL  Admitting I cry doesn’t make me any less of a man either.  So what are the two things that will almost guarantee I will reach for a tissue?

  1. When I begin thinking about God’s goodness, and blessings to me and my wife I get misty eyed.  Like the other day we received three unexpected checks in the mail.  They really helped us out, and before you ask me for a loan they went to pay off some debt.  They were nice checks.  When I opened the envelopes and saw them I sat down and cried.

    A few weeks ago I wrote about sowing into someone else’s financial needs.  I helped a friend work on his condo.  He offered to pay me and I wanted to accept the money, but God whispered, “No.  Sow into their need.”  They didn’t need to spend any more on the condo.

    God has established certain universal laws, and one of them is “sowing and reaping”.  If you sow, give time or money it doesn’t always come back to you in the same form you gave it, but it does come back.  But you have to be willing to give without expecting it to come back, which has to do with the attitude of your heart.

  2. The other thing that gets my eyes to leaking is sensing the presence of God.  When his Spirit comes over me and hovers, and I know I am in the company of God it over whelms me.  To think, the God of the universe wants to spend time with me.  I can’t see him, but I know He is there.  I can’t see the wind, but I know when it blows.  Lately, when this happens, I have been saying, “Come a little closer, stay a little longer.  I can’t get enough of you.”

Okay, in full disclosure those are the words to a new worship song I just discovered the other day.  “Just Like Heaven” by Brandon Lake.  When I hear this song on the radio it ushers me into an attitude of worship.  Expressing my love and admiration to God for who He is, for his holiness.  Worship, does a lot for us, even though we are giving it to God.

So yes, there are times I cry, but they are good tears not bad ones that flow out because of hurt, or pain.  Tears are a release of emotion, and God gave us that capability, and I am so grateful He did.  I can’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t cry.  I’m no expert in biology, but I have feeling my emotion would come out somewhere, somehow, in some form.  I choose tears.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Were That, but Now You Are This

“You’re such a nice person,” said the new co-worker.  The woman had been hurt by many men in the past and so naturally she was leery of any man who seemed, “nice” in the beginning of a new relationship.  Evidently, trusting a nice man and letting her guard down has put her in the position to get hurt in the past, but this guy was different.  His attitude seemed real, genuine.  She wondered how this could be.

After meeting Jesus Christ, and accepting who he is as God’s son, that encounter should change you.  It changed Saul, who was later named “Paul”.  You see after Saul’s salvation, or conversion he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and into him entered the fruit of the Spirit.

13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man [Saul] and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”

26-27 Back in Jerusalem he [Saul] tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t trust him one bit. Then Barnabas took him under his wing. He introduced him to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus’ name.

28-30 After that he was accepted as one of them, going in and out of Jerusalem with no questions asked, uninhibited as he preached in the Master’s name.  Acts 9:13-14, 26-30 (MSG)

So what changes a person so drastically?  It’s the fruit of the Spirit.  Each attribute of the Spirit replaces one(s) in the flesh:

Love replaces hate.

Joy replaces sadness, depression.

Peace replaces nervousness, anxiety, fears.

Longsuffering replaces quick tempers.  Gives time for understanding.

Gentleness replaces anger, rage.

Goodness replaces selfishness.

Faith replaces worry, and hopelessness.

Having the fruit of the Spirit within you provides life, real life, the way God intended it.  People will see the difference and be drawn to you, but what they are really being drawn to is the heart of God.  If you have not been filled with the Spirit of God then ask God to fill you with his Spirit.  Then allow it to perfect your walk with God, and affect the world, the people around you.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

In the Last Year

DSC_7954Yesterday, I celebrated being retired for one year.  I also had a birthday this past week.  In reflecting back upon both, it didn’t take long to see God’s goodness.  His mighty hand, his gentle kindness, his correction, his presence, but in all of it, his love!

I know his love has been there my whole life, but now, I am more sensitive to recognizing it, in my life, and in the life of others.  So I had to ask myself, “Why is that?  Why do I see it clearer now, and not as much before?”  I don’t want to come across as “spiritual”, or “more special” than anyone else, but in the last year I have desireed and strived, in all times and situations,  to be just like Jesus, who is, Love.

It’s like recognizing an Armani suit, which I wouldn’t know if it bit me.  You’re so familiar with the original, it stands out.  Oh, trust me.  It’s much easier to be me, but I have seen enough of what I can be with and around people.  Yuk!  Who wants more of that?  I don’t, and I’m so sure no one else does either.

So, what’s the plan for this next year?  Going deeper into the things of God.  Having the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and the spirit of counsel and might in my life.  I want to journey closer to the source of “Living waters”.  I want to constantly be in the presence of God, which is why I choose a picture of the arc of the covenant.  Until the moment Jesus died, on the cross, the arc is where God’s presence resided.  Now, I want His presence to reside in me.

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (Isa 11:2 KJV+)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved