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

Three Days

Charlie 1A young woman had been praying for a man of God for years.  She had cried out, “God do you not care?”  Not seeing any positive movement via the dating site she had joined, she decided to close her account.  Three days later she received a message from an interested man.  Love blossomed.

A man was asked by God to go to a certain village to evangelize.  The man didn’t do it.  Instead, he went the other way, and boarded a ship.  After setting sail, the ship encountered some very bad weather.  Before going down, the superstitious men on board decided their trouble was due to one man.  They threw him overboard where a great fish swallowed him up.  Three days later, the fish vomited the man out.  He then decided to be obedient and go where God had commanded in the first place.

After Jesus drew his last breathe on the cross, his followers thought it was over.  They recalled his acts of love, and his stories that inspired, but he was gone.  For three days, all hope was lost, until Jesus was resurrected.  He overcame the darkness and once again, Light filled the earth!

What is it, about three days of darkness?  Is it a test to see if your faith will hang on?  Does it take at least that long for your will to line up with God’s?  How many days has it been for you?  What have you been calling out to God for?  Is your hope lost?  Are you thinking, “What’s the use” or perhaps you are thinking, “Well, it was nice while it lasted.”

As long as you are alive, hope exist!  Why does God allow certain things to happen in ways we might call cruel and unusual, I don’t know.  But I do know this, God is still and will forever be on the throne controlling things especially for those who submit their lives to him.

Remember this:  I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out–plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Jer 29:11 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

God’s Opus

OpusWho’s standing at the podium of your life waving the wand?  Who’s directing you?  Who is orchestrating every step you take?  Who’s responsible for the sound coming from your life?  God, you, or someone, or something else?  If you believe in God and you see in your life things just seem to work out, look up, and smile at the conductor.  God is doing everything you will allow him to, in guiding your life.

I do see some, who say they believe in God, or even who have accepted him, whose lives are a constant struggle.  Yes, I know, it rains on the just and the unjust, and bad things happening does not always point to a life that is less than full devotion to God!

Then there are those who have not accepted God’s free gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus.  Some of those people seem to have very happy and successful lives.  I would dare say something else is directing their life, the devil, perhaps to keep them from thinking they need God at all.

I didn’t even know what an “opus” was until I saw the movie, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”.  I like the following definition:  any artistic work, especially one on a large scale.  I would say that is what God has, is and will be doing until his master piece is complete.  I believe we are in the last days here on earth.  Can you feel the crescendo coming?  I hope you are allowing God to direct your life.  You’re an instrument in the hands of the Almighty who knows how to take what you give him and make a beautiful sound with it.  Even if it’s not the life you wanted, it’s great, because God is in it.  Oh!  I got to go.  My solo part is coming up.

Copyright © 2018 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