The Conference Room

You really can “walk with God”.  It’s not a clique only found in the Bible at all, but something you can ask for, something you can expect, count on, and do. 

Leviticus 26:12 “And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”

Each morning my wife and I join hands to pray over our breakfast. We include the words, “and God lead us this day.  Guide our steps.  Direct us to those who we need to spend time with and when there give us your words to speak to them.”  It’s not something we have memorized, so the actual words may come out different each time, but that keeps it fresh.

I knew of a child and when called upon to pray over their evening meal she said the same thing every night.  It got to be kind of a joke to the whole family.  In fact, it didn’t take long for it to get the nickname, “Prayer number 505.”  The family got seated each night for dinner and settled by 5:05 PM.

I know God has guided my steps for most of my life.  After all, He has lead me to my wife April, and I am now experiencing the fullness of what it means to be married, at least how God intends a marriage to be.  But it seems as if in the last month his direction has been every day, and in the last week especially.

God has lead us to the right people, at the right time, to have the right conversations.  A big blessing this past week has been putting together our new room, “The Conference Room”, as my wife labeled it, because it is there we meet with God.  We dedicate that room for time with God, whether in his word, or in conversations with him, as we pray for friends, family and others around the world.  Or perhaps we will just sit and wait for God to provide wisdom, understanding and direction for a particular need.

The original idea for this room only came about Sunday just over a week ago, and before a week could go by, the room has taken shape, and is only in need of a few final pieces, like photos hung on the wall of those we pray for.  The room came about so quickly because we wrote out a list of what we wanted and we prayed over it.  Then, early in the week, I told a friend of what we wanted.  He mentioned, the next day, seeing a chair for our room at a new discount store where the proceeds go to build housing for those in need.  A cause I can get behind and support, by shopping at the store.

So needless to say we visited the store and bought the majority of the pieces we desired from that store and the bookshelf came from a curbside, discard pile of a homeowner’s furniture. The bookshelf just needed a little cleaning up and some minor repairs.  There have been times in my life when I may have been discarded, thrown out of someone else’s life and Jesus looked at me and said, “He just needs a little cleaning up and some minor repairs.”

My wife’s and mine first action in our new room was to pray, and dedicate it to God.  For his purposes, to his Glory, and to advance his kingdom.  This blog post was also written there, so from “The Conference Room” to your heart comes a message from God to you.

Dream with God.  Ask him to make it happen.  Write it down.  Doing so will increase your faith.  It will help you start seeing it even though it is not there.  Then, ask God to lead you and guide you to the right places, at the right time, to have the right conversations.  That is walking with God.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A New Chapter

America.  She changed today.  Maybe the reality is, she changed a long time ago from the innocent days I once knew, but this truth is obvious today.  I grew up in Oklahoma, in a middle class family that somehow, always seem to have enough and then some.  I watched as my parents made good decisions and choices who worked hard for what they wanted.  “The American Dream”.  I believed in this dream and I too sought it out.  I wanted to own my own house, well after paying 30 years of payments.  I desired a good job, a loving wife, 2.5 kids, one of each sex, and to be a happy family.

The truth is, it took me 35 years to buy the house that will be mine in 26 and 1/2 years.  I have two kids, one of each sex, who don’t talk to me, and, their mother divorced me after she made a huge mistake, but convinced everyone our marriage failed solely due to me.  As a result, my biological family doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, so you could say I don’t have the happy family I desired.  Many Christmas days have been spent filling the empty stocking with tears.

After years of checking the “Divorced” box on forms I met and then married a Filipino woman.  I thought perhaps now I would get the happy family I desired.  You know what?  There are cynical, greedy, lying family members in all cultures, but the woman I married is the exception to a few members of her own family.  I have written about it a few times; my wife lives out God’s definition of love.

After our wedding, I was with her for seven months in the Philippines, until I needed a medical procedure, so I left her there thinking immigration wouldn’t take that long and she would come to America on my heels.  There was some delay in the process, but as we were reaching the finish line Covid hit.  Another year without her, another moist Christmas day.  A lot of crying out to God, and asking, “Why?”  The big three set in: Discouragement, Disappointment and yes, even Depression.  As I crawled through those dark days way down, deep inside me, was a mustard seed of faith that was whispering, “God knows what He is doing.”  In full disclosure, my mind was asking, “Are you sure?”

January 7th, we received an email stating my wife has her long awaited interview with the U.S. embassy in Manila.  LIGHT pierced our darkness.  I wanted to wait to share this until she was actually here, but someone needs to read these words now.  We are hoping we will be together by Valentine’s Day.  What a time to reunite our love for each other and for our God who loves us beyond belief.

When my wife is in our home in Oklahoma a new chapter of our lives together will begin.  Unfortunately, she will never know the “America” I grew up in.  Today, those with money want more, and those who “think” they have power want total control.  I sense days may be coming that perhaps will not be comfortable.  Standing up for what is true, for what is right could prove to be difficult.  There will most likely be a separation of those who have a solid relationship with God from those who were pretending, because in the America I grew up in, it was popular to say you were a “Christian”, but not anymore.

Yes a new chapter will be starting soon in my life, but also a new chapter in the life of America.  Our country’s slogan, printed on our currency, may no longer be, “In God We Trust”. Sometimes I wonder who is really holding the pen, writing each chapter.  As for my life, I want God to, because whether I understand his ways or not, He does know what He is doing!

Isaiah 55:8-11(MSG)

8-11 “I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Seeing the Invisible

Let’s face it, faith is difficult.  It’s not hard to find it as we all start with a measure of it, according to the word of God. (Rom. 12:3b)  But growing your faith is something else.  One of the best ways is to listen to testimonies.  If God can do it for them, then it’s possible for him to do it for us.  That’s one of the reasons we have the Bible.  Reading the stories of God doing the impossible when a solution looked improbable.  Also, faith grows by hearing the word of God, according to Romans 10:17.

We can use our invisible faith
to believe in the invisible God!

If we learned anything from 2020 we should have learned that no one knows what a year will bring us.  Some had good years while others have bad years before Covid, and I have even heard of a few thankful people for 2020.  What?  Yeah, some have given thanks that the pandemic forced them to slow down, take a survey of what was really important in life, while others are grateful for the time they got to spend with their immediate families.

Businesses found out people can work from home, which reduced commuting, which reduced pollution, which has allowed nature to return to some areas where it has not been seen for a long time.  There are other things to be seen that we often loose site of when things are going well.  Like how precious life itself is, and how valuable time is.  By taking walks, some saw the beauty of nature again.

You know, perhaps 2020 did open our eyes after all, if you were looking.  So the point to this blog has to be, “open your eyes, and keep them open”.  Always be looking for the invisible in life.  Always be looking for God, because he speaks, he ministers and he teaches us despite any circumstances going on around us.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Home

“Here ya go, Mommy,” said the young son.

“Oh, thanks.  What is this?” inquired his mother.

“You said you got lost last night in the big building you now work in, so I drew you a map to help you find your way out.”

According to his mother, he also drew her a map, to guide her home, in the shape of a heart.  He obviously loves his mother very much and wants to make sure she comes home, where it is safe, warm, and love abides.

Grab a tissue, right?

When Adam and Eve sinned they were banished from their home. The Garden of Eden. A beautiful, warm place. Peaceful and full of love, visited by God daily. Man was doomed to be lost forever, unless someone provided mankind with a plan, with a map to find their way home again.

God drew a map. The starting point is wherever you currently are in life, You make your way to the cross where God’s only son died for us for He was the perfect sacrifice to make atonement for our sins, (wrong doing).  Jesus, the ultimate gift, exhibiting the ultimate kind of love.

Once there at the cross you turn right and go straight by reading God’s word which shows us how to live our lives, so we are guaranteed to find our way home, where it is safe, warm, and love abides.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Finding Direction

Believe it or not, after my divorce, when it came to meeting a woman to potentially marry, I used to ask God to send her to my door and have her say, “Hi.  I’m God’s woman for you.”  In turn, I would say, “Great.  Let me get my coat.”  I was living in the Chicago area back then and it is cold 9 months out of the year.  Guess what?  It never happened.  I didn’t like all of the effort it took to date after divorce, and I wasn’t real sure I even wanted to remarry, but one thing I did know, if God wanted to lead me that way He could have.

My approach was kind of like praying for money, but not going out and looking for a job.  I used to tell my concerned friends, “Hey, I’m not looking for a wife, but my eyes aren’t closed either.”

One sure way to receive direction from God is to be moving.  You can’t steer a car if it’s not rolling.  With that said, you don’t stop praying while you are in motion.  God can certainly open and close doors, or lead you to someone who knows someone who God can use to meet your need, or desire.

I know of a single woman who is looking for a mate.  She keeps doing it her way, which seems as if she takes the first man to message her, and she gets involved in another long distance relationship that eventually ends badly.  After a few days of hurt, and anger she’s back at it again.  The problem is this; her expiration date is approaching.  I get the sense she is not focusing on God first, and trusting him to lead her.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “No” to a man when you get a check in your spirit.  God will give her the desires of her heart when the right man comes along.  In the meantime, she can have intimacy with God.

It’s important to yield to the plans of God.

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)

For six years, before my retirement, I planned on buying an RV, travel America, and write.  That didn’t happen then, but I now see a chance where it may happen in the future.  My wife likes to add this phrase after making plans of her own, “If God permits.”  Not a bad way to live at all.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” 2 Cor. 5:7 (AMP)

It’s not easy walking with God, I get that, but it sure is exciting!

Whether you need direction for a spouse, a job, a place to live, what to say to someone who needs to hear from God, etc. choose to live in boldness.  Don’t sit in your living room and wait for the answers to come to you, oh, and don’t expect a billboard along the highway either, but get up, get out, and move.  Then trust the one who has the wheel of your life.  You’ll enjoy the destination that much better!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Are You Making People Thirsty?

The other day, I witnessed a lady at the grocery store, who knocked a large bottle of wine off the moving belt and onto the floor where it crashed and made a big mess.  I had the urge to run over and pray that the “wine” would turn into “water”, so it would be easier to clean up.  I didn’t.

There is different kinds of water out there in nature.  There is clear water, mineral infused water, which looks yellowish, and there is also yukky water called, brackish.

In John 4, Jesus talked about water:

10 Jesus answered, “If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you fresh, living water.”

11-12 The woman said, “Sir, you don’t even have a bucket to draw with, and this well is deep. So how are you going to get this ‘living water’? Are you a better man than our ancestor Jacob, who dug this well and drank from it, he and his sons and livestock, and passed it down to us?”

In a way, she was asking, “Who do you think you are?”

13-14 Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst—not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.”

After the above conversation, Jesus shared with the woman the details of her life.  They had never met, so in that moment she became thirsty for his kind of water.

Through Jesus’ death one can have life, living water, and that water can nourish you for the rest of your life.  So what does this have to do with us, who have drank this water?  Wherever we are around other people, our attitude can affect the atmosphere.  At times, our personality can draw others to us, because of the love of God in us.  It can actually cause people to inquire why we are so different than others they have met before.  This happened once with my neighbor, who he and his wife wound up accepting Jesus Christ.

So I ask, what kind of water are you serving others, in your community, your workplace, or in your home?  Is it clear, refreshing, or is it yukky?  Does it quench those around you, or leave a bad taste in their mouth?  I hope, for their sake, they will desire the water you are serving up.  If it needs to be different then try using a “Jesus” filter, which infuses love into your words and actions.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Establish the Mood

062320What happens when you walk into a room of people?  Are they glad to see you, or do they cringe?  Do they come up to you and greet you, or do they pretend to be busy, and walk away hoping to avoid you?  I had a boss that every morning when I saw her enter our department, I knew my peace was about to leave.

What kind of mood encompasses us, goes with us and enters, when we do?  Does your very presence change the environment, the atmosphere of a place?  It should.

Back when I worked in an office building, in Chicago, I took on the challenge of trying my best to put a smile on my fellow passenger’s faces while we were in the elevator.  Difficult, because some of them got off on the lower floors, giving me only seconds to come up with something to do or say that would change them.  That would leave them better when they got off the elevator than when they got on.  Pun intended, my words could lift them up, or let them down.

Once there were several people entering the elevator.  I said, “Call out the floor you need.”  They did, then I announced, “I like pushing people’s buttons.”  I wonder if that was some’s only laugh for the whole day?

As the years went by, people would get on the elevator, see me, and smile immediately.  I’m not boasting, because I knew two things:

  1. The love and joy in my life, I shared with others, only came from God.

  2. I entered the elevator on purpose, with a purpose.

For those who have accepted God, have his love, his truth, and his life inside, we can change, or flip the environment of a home, office, church, store, or wherever we go, just by walking in.  Oh, how the world needs us to enter their lives and shatter the darkness they dwell in with the light of God!  “Let there be light!”  Offer them the hope of Jesus.  When we welcome the presence of God in our lives He goes with us.  People sense it, and are either drawn to it, or openly resist it.

No matter where your feet take you, take God.

Be there on purpose, with a purpose.  Be mindful of those around you.  Roger, a good friend of mine, does this every day when he goes to work.  Share hope, peace, faith and love.  Scatter lots of joy.  Show everyone there is a better way to live.  Make them curious how you can still be smiling despite all that is going on around us.  Establish the mood!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Knowing the Way

040420When I was four years old I was able to show people how to get from our house to JCPenny.  I didn’t know the street names, but I knew when to get off the highway, and when to turn and which way.  This may be more important; I knew how to get back home.

Funny story; when I was five, we had been to JCPenny and other stores at the outdoor mall, it was the mid-sixties okay, and I had seen at least four different “Santa Clauses”.  Something just didn’t add up.  Then it hit me, and while we were on our way home, I blurted out the truth of how the whole thing worked.  My mother almost wrecked the 1963 Chevy Impala trying to reach over the back of the front seat and slap my legs, or whatever she should make contact with and screaming at me, “Shut up!”  My older sister started crying and whimpering, “It’s not true!  It can’t be true!”

A couple of years ago, I was working security at my church, when a middle age couple approached me and asked for money.  They said they had been in town to visit his sister who was in the hospital.  They shared they had intended to drive into town, visit, and drive back home.  Instead, they said they got lost and turned around several times.  So much so, their gas tank was almost empty.

I felt bad for them, and I didn’t give them cash, so I walked across the street and filled up their car.  While the man she was living with, it was an impression, went in to the store to do something, I had the opportunity to speak to the woman sitting in the car.

After meeting them I kept getting a feeling, or was hearing from God, that she used to go to church, but because of some bad choices in life had gotten away from the faith of her youth.  I squatted down so I could look at her in the face through the driver’s window and said, “I feel like God wants me to give you a message.  He wants you to know he misses you.”  She started crying.  I said, “I feel like you used to go to church when you were a little girl.”  She, now wiping tears, mentioned, “My grandma used to take us kids every Sunday.”  I encouraged her to, no matter what, with or without him, to go back to church again.  I told her I was sure God wouldn’t hold it against her that she had been MIA for so long, because he just wanted to see her come home.  Hang out, talk, and get caught up.

Before writing this blog tonight, I got the impression there is one, or perhaps many people who need to go home again.  Not just to a “church building”, but to a place where you can learn the true nature of God.  How much he loves you.  I think the message God had for her is similar to the message he wants you to hear.  If you don’t know how to find your way home, ask Him to help you.  He will.  He knows the way.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My Last Stop

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Living in the Philippines, for the last six months, has taught me a lot!  More than I could have ever imagined.  I have observed, and recorded in my mind the people, their lives, their world.  I foresee, one of these days, the residents here showing up in a story somewhere.

I have tried my best to settle in, and get comfortable, which is difficult when you are a pampered American.  I have done what I could to fit in, but looking so different than them, some wouldn’t let me.  Like today, at the time of this writing, I was cursed and the old woman made a spitting motion at my feet three times.  I’m not saying I know racism in its fullest now, like some do in America, but I have experienced a taste of it, and it doesn’t taste too good.  On the flip side, I have made friends, who call out my name whenever they see me out on the streets.  That’s a good feeling no matter where you live!

As I made this place home, there were days I was jolted when the realization hit me, Mark, this is not your home.  You’re an alien, a sojourner.  Just passing through, for a specific time and purpose.  For that matter, America is not my home either.  I’m an alien there as well, just passing through for a specific time and purpose.

So where is my residence?

“So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” Ephesians 2:19 (ASV)

After I accepted Jesus, my forwarding address was in heaven, God’s kingdom.  As a residence of that land, I have full rights to everything the kingdom of God offers.  I’m an heir to the King of Kings.  I fit in.  Everyone is accepted, no matter how weird they are on earth.  Racism doesn’t exist!  With nothing but love there, I am making heaven, my last stop.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Home

HeavenToday, will be the last time I will ever be in the home I grew up in.  Dad passed away earlier this year, and on Monday the house will be transferred to its new owner.  I will walk around remembering life within those walls.  I will stare at my old bedroom.  Life is about seasons, so though there are good feelings tied to that address, I don’t regret where I live now.

One of these days will be my last one on earth.  I will be ready to leave it, and go to my new home in heaven, where I am confident I will spend eternity, because I accepted Jesus into my life and do my best to live for him.  I will be like the Apostle Paul.  “[Yes] we have confident and hopeful courage and are pleased rather to be away from home out of the body and be at home with the Lord.”  (2Co 5:8 AMP)

Your current address doesn’t matter, but your future one does.  So I have to ask you; realhellWhere will you spend eternity?  Will you be at home with the Lord, or in a totally dark pit falling forever, because hell is bottomless?  Some ask, “How can a loving God send people to hell?”  He doesn’t send people to hell, they send themselves.  It’s your choice.

Paul gave the greatest bottom line:

“Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.”  (Phi 1:21 MSG)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved