Two Can do More Than One

051220Considering the challenges, it’s understandable why my wife and I had a difficult time in the beginning adjusting to each other.  An American who didn’t understand Filipino culture, and a Filipino who wasn’t used to a man making decisions.  My wife’s father left the family when she was young.

We had several, heated discussions to say the least.  Many times, either of us wanted to say, “Forget it!”  But one thing kept us trying to figure it out.  We both had to admit there was no doubt God wanted us to be together.  There were too many strong confirmations this marriage was being formed in heaven.

The one line that always got us to stop fighting and take a breath was this,

“We can’t let Satan win!”

It seems as if we were battled by fierce forces unseen, and the truth was, we were!  Satan wanted to put asunder what God had joined together.  “Asunder”, means interfere.

Today, we are doing great.  My wife has only messed up once in the last three months.  Did I say, “My wife”?  I meant me.  The other night we were talking, and I said something about helping others, more than we currently are.  It was then, my wife opened up and shared her dream of helping lives in tangible ways ever since she was a little girl.  I had no idea.  We then dreamed about what that would look like.

The next day I had the opportunity to help a young father, who had relocated to Tulsa from the Covid hot spot of Boston.  They arrived in an old vehicle with only the things they could pack in it.  After he pulled away I was moved to tears as I thought about the shoes he walks in, and I was thankful I was not wearing them.  I don’t have a lot of “extra” right now, as our own budget is tight, but the things he really needed, I had.  It was while thinking on what had just transpired, I said to myself, “Two can do more than one.”  Walking out my wife’s dream had just begun.

I am thankful to God for his many blessings, and I look forward to seeing what and how God will do more through us together as his Spirit leads.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Identity Thief

WIYTGIG 1I have a theory that human spirits are in heaven, with God, and then, the moment a child is conceived a human spirit is installed.  It’s just a thought, okay?  One reason I believe this is I was in a grocery store and I saw a small child in their mother’s arms.  When the child saw me I smiled, and without hesitation the child tried to leap out of the arms of their mother into mine.  The child’s spirit wanted to be reunited with God’s Spirit, which dwells in me.

the child saw God

I didn’t encourage the child at all.  I simply smiled.  I have thought about that moment and I came to realize the child sensed God’s Spirit within me.  That led to the question, “how did the child know God?”

I have been reading “Translating God” by Shawn Bolz.  He talks about seeing people as the original version of them God intended.  This will help you relate to them better when you begin to see them as God does.

So what happens then?  How do we get so off course from being the image of God he designed?  Life, temptation, sin, and free will.  Those are the things that steal our true identity.  I know a man, who had a dream about his son before he was ever born.  In the dream he got his name and his destiny from God.  Sure enough a son was born, but today that son is not living a life anything close to what God intended.  The man continues to love his son anyway, and continues to pray for him, and believe that one day the real version will emerge, and his son will be a mighty, spiritual warrior.

It’s like when we are born, our life is perfect, and wrinkled free.  Then, as life happens we get wrinkled, but the moment we accept Jesus we go to the cleaners and there, the Holy Spirit, as steam, gets all of the wrinkles out.  He restores us to our original design, and purpose.  Yes, it takes discipleship, healing of the heart, and spending a lot of time with God getting to know him fully and his nature, but it can be done.

Jeremiah 1:5 (The Message)

 “Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”

I encourage you to be hungry to be the person God intended you to be.  Ask God to show you his plan, design, and purpose for your life.  Then, I encourage you to live it.  If you choose to do this you will never be happier!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What the Corona is Going On?

Charlie 0320 105There is so much going on in our world right now.  I’ve thought about taking pain pills before sitting down and watching the evening news.  There is so much devastation, sickness, hate, and crime.  It’s no wonder people live in fear.  People fear the most what they don’t know.  Mainly, they don’t know what is going to happen in the future.

What’s going to happen to my 401?  Funny in a way, most people in the world don’t even know what one is much less have one.  They’re more concerned about catching the Coronavirus.  If they don’t contract the virus will it affect their job?  The world has for certain become a smaller planet. We are more connected to people in China, South Africa, India, and Europe than ever before.

Then there are problems here at home like politicians not getting along and acting like they are in kindergarten all over again.  Wildfires out of control, severe storms that cause flooding, mudslides, and total devastation from wind damage.

You might be saying, “Thanks Captain Obvious!  We know!”

What this world needs is climate change!  You might be thinking, “We have that too!”

Just a thought: how do we know what the temperature was before the floods of Noah’s days?  I’m saying, what if the earth’s temperature is just now getting back to what it was before all that water covered the earth?  A lot of the water froze because the ground was covered.  Anyway, back to our regular scheduled program already in progress.

The kind of climate change I am writing about is in our in countries, our states or provinces, in our cities, on our street, in our home, in us.  You see, a lot of people want things to change.  The very people who live in fear, but they either don’t know how, or what to do.

Believing in God is not just a cliché,

but the start of laying a solid foundation upon which to build your life.  Accepting Jesus, as God’s son, and asking for the forgiveness of all your wrong doing gets you access to all that God offers his children.  Protection, guidance, direction as well as a host of other things, the walls, we need as mankind.  Then asking for the Holy Spirit to dwell within us is the roof.  Our structure is complete.  The Holy Spirit not only brings peace, but power to stand firm anytime, and power to do things for God.

Real life, built and lived out on Godly principles, changes everything.  For one, there is perfect peace in God, and perfect peace cast out fear.  it changes not just us, but our street, our cities, our states, our countries, our world.  Things in our world aren’t going to change for the positive until we, those who know God and act like it, do.  Then, as God, through his Holy Spirit leads us, we can change the climate of our world.  I’m in!  Are you?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Could Have Been a Murderer!

Charlie 61I was staying in hotel for a few days.  I decided to go out, and at the elevator met up with this older couple.  They were dressed in their “Sunday go to Meeting” clothes.  That’s what we say here in Oklahoma anyway.  They were dressed up very nice for those who don’t understand.

I said, “Wow!  You all look like you’re going to church.”  It was Thursday.  They both gave me a funny look as if I had spoken English to them in Sweden , or something.  I went on, “I mean, you two are dressed up so nice.”  This time I got a smile from the wife.  This encounter was awkward and getting more uncomfortable as we got into the elevator.  “Where ya all going?” I asked.  I mean, why stop now?

“We are attending a minister’s convention across the highway,” the man informed me in a very stern voice.

“Oh, well, enjoy.  Take care,” I replied.  I got no response.

As I got into my car, I couldn’t help but replay the encounter.  I thought, they didn’t know me at all.  Why didn’t they try to share Jesus with me.  I could have been a murderer for all they know and desperately in need of Jesus!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to judge them or anything, but I guess if one is a Christian, much less a minister, they should make an attempt to talk about Jesus in some way all the time.  A good friend said this recently;

“A disciple of Jesus Christ, is so different from being a Christian.”

What he means is this; a Christian has accepted Jesus as the Son of God, and has had their sins forgiven.  A disciple of Jesus Christ tries to replicate Jesus.  He does his best to share Jesus with the world in whatever form or words are available in the moment.  In some ways you could say, he is useful to God.

Some may be satisfied with only having an “Eternal Life Insurance” policy, but I’m not.  I enjoy helping others find God, or grow in their relationship with God.  Learning how to be an overcomer and stop living below what God intended for his children.  I know it’s hard to speak up, and I certainly don’t always know the right words to say, but I yield my reluctancy to God, and funny thing, with the help of his Holy Spirit, it usually turns out okay.  I think most people I talk to aren’t murderers, but then again, you never know.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

No One Ever Treated Me That Way

Charlie55

tricycle

I am a middle aged man, and have been driving a tricycle in Baliuag, Philippines for many years, but today, today I experienced something for the first time.  I’m not sure what to call it, but it felt good.  You see, this couple, I picked up for fare, while on their way to their destination wanted to stop at 7 Eleven and get something to drink.  Just before the man entered the store he stopped, turned to me, and asked, “Would you like something to drink?”

I didn’t know how to respond, and before I could think about it, I responded with a, “Yes.  Whatever you are getting.”  When he returned he handed me a large bottle of a soft drink.  In fact, my drink was larger than his.  I was shocked, stunned, and didn’t know what to think or say.  “Thank you,” I finally said.

As I dropped them off at their final destination, the man asked me, “How much?”  I wanted to say, “No charge,” but the truth is I really needed the money for my family.  He said, “I’ll decide how much.”, and he handed me a lot more than the fare should have been.  I watched with stunned feelings as the nice couple walked away.  His last words still echoing in my head, “Sir, I bless you today, because God blesses me.  He loves me, and he loves you too!”  Perhaps I should get to know such a loving God.

 

We never know who we will encounter each day.  It is important to be lead by the Holy Spirit to know what to say, or do, when He prompts us to, and then to be obedient.  James 3:10 refers to curses and blessing coming out of the same mouth and how this shouldn’t be, but also be aware that the same hands can hurt, or give blessings.  Let’s bless others with our mouths, and with our hands.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

IR

Charlie 7I got remarried yesterday evening, after being divorced for twenty-three years.  I no longer have to check that dreaded little box, “Divorced”.  I married a wonderful woman of God who is a Filipino.  The only problem is, I’m an American, and she is not allowed to enter the United States without a Visa, which could take a year or longer to arrive.  When she said, “I do,” she became an “IR”.  Instant Relative.  This status gives her priority over everyone else trying to enter America by any other means.  Work Visa, Student Visa, Fiancé Visa, etc.  It also gives her access to a “Green Card” and two weeks after she arrives in America she will get her Social Security card.  Being an “IR” has instant privileges.

When one accepts God’s free gift of salvation, through his Son Jesus, they instantly become an “IR”.  They become a son or daughter to the God of the universe.  You will walk around, with a smile on your face, knowing whose you are, that you belong to God, and He is your Abba Father.  (Daddy God)  That status brings instant privileges as well.  Like having access to the throne of God.  Being able to walk with him and talk about anything.  God will guide you, Jesus will be with you, and the Holy Spirit will comfort you.  You have a free Attorney, Jesus, to defend you against Satan’s accusations.  Also, there will be free of charge, to you, accommodations in heaven that have no check out date or time, and who could argue with the blessing of eternal life?  Yes, being a child of God is good!

“Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better? (Mat. 7:11 MSG)

There are so many reasons to accept Jesus, mainly, because He first loved us.  If you are not currently, my prayer is that you will become an “IR” with God.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Joseph, call Clarence.”

its timeYes, that quote is from the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  Why am I referencing it?  Well, for the last two weeks I have been working many hours a day to prepare for a major move in my life, and I have witnessed God’s mighty hand all along the way.

For instance, I rented my house in ten minutes.  My fiancé found us an apartment in one hour that met all of our requirements and came in way under budget.  I lost my wallet on a city street and after walking away one and half blocks I realized it.  I hurried back to find it on the ground, undisturbed.  As this adventure with God has begun, I have seen one miracle after another.  I would hear the Holy Spirit whisper who to talk to and when.  I made the right calls at the right time that expedited my needs being met, but my favorite testimony is this:

I was stacking my belongings in my storage unit.  I had a ladder so I could place items all the way up to the ceiling.  I climbed up the ladder with a sofa cushion and was trying to put it in a spot up high.  I couldn’t reach it, so I placed one foot over on a pile of furniture, thinking it was stable.  It wasn’t!  I fell from about six feet up and landed, on my back, on the storage unit’s concrete floor.  The fall scared me.  I laid there expecting pain, blood, a broken bone, something, but there was none of that.  I got up and kept working.  Even the next day I had no pain from the fall.

The funny thing was, when I recounted the incident, it felt as if someone had caught me and laid me on the concrete floor.  If that’s true then I think in heaven the conversation went something like this:

“Excuse me God, but it’s almost that time on earth when Mark is about to make that bone head move in the storage unit,” said Joseph

“Yes, it is isn’t it?” replied God “Whose turn is it to go down there to help one of my children?”

“Clarence sir.”

“Joseph, call Clarence”

Now I don’t know if the angel’s name was Clarence, and I doubt my blunder got him his wings.  But I do know this, living for God, and allowing him to guide, direct and be active in our lives really does make for a wonderful life.  I wouldn’t want to live life any other way.  If you have not accepted God’s gift, Jesus, his son to forgive you of your sins then do it.  Begin right now experiencing what I have learned, and lived for a long time.  And thanks to God I have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Do You Have a Pulpit?

Wood Pulpit 25…I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit!  (Phi 1:20 MSG)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Adventures with God

 

 

storms of lifeTraveling to new places can be exciting, exhilarating, and exuberant. It can also be daunting, especially when your phone doesn’t work. One of my mother’s friends said, before my trip to the Philippines, that he couldn’t even find the airport in his home town, much less one 7000 miles away. Trust me, there were many times when I was praying, a lot. Especially when I arrived and couldn’t find my host family. Turned out, United had started using a different terminal in Manilla 3 days before my arrival.

Trusting God, and walking with him can be very similar. That is why it is important to know God’s voice. To be able to hear it when the noises of life are deafening. The only way to get good at it is to practice    e, a lot! It doesn’t come easy because we are used to listening to ourselves or to others. The best way to know God’s voice is to know God. To know his word as well. That way when his Spirit whispers into your spirit, you will know it’s him.

When you get this practice into your life, you and God can go anywhere with ease and have many great adventures together. Rom. 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (NIV)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Fashionably Late

red-crossI have always said, “I would rather be one mile behind God than one inch in front of him!”  But recently, I feel as though I am trying to catch my breath doing my best to keep up with him.  It’s as if I am running late to the party, God has been inviting me to all year.  I just didn’t see it.  He was orchestrating a new season in my life, and I didn’t even notice him hanging the decorations.

God wants to bless his children.  He desires to give them good gifts.  Our responsibility is to be in a place in life to receive them.  In step with God, desiring God, and no matter what happens around us continuing to focus on God.  Not getting caught up in the everyday sludge that tries to pull us down and overcome us.

“Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.”  (Jam 1:17 MSG)

Watch your door step.  It’s the season of gift giving.  God could be trying to give you a gift.  Don’t allow it to be taken by the devil’s porch piracy program!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved