How Much More?

052620How do you convince someone you love them?  You could tell them over and over perhaps.  You could show them in every way possible.  You could do everything you can think of.  You could even learn their love language, and speak it fluently.  After all the effort you would expect them to accept you, to accept your love, but what if they don’t?  Can you imagine the frustration you would feel?  Then, what if you told them, “In order to prove how much I love you, I’ll die for you.”  They might still reject your offer, and even say, “You’re crazy!”

Choose Love!

The truth is, God did this very thing, but He even went one step further.  He gave us his only son to die for us.  It is never right for a child to die before the parent.  It’s not natural.  To think this was God’s plan, ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed him in the Garden of Eden.  I mean, how much more can God do to prove how much He loves us?

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16-18 (MSG)

In these days we are living in, everyone who hasn’t, should run to God and accept his free gift.  Are you afraid of being obligated of loving God back?  Are you concerned you might have to live in a way you would rather not?  You know it doesn’t matter what you have done in your past, his forgiveness will cover it.  If you disagree then you are listening to the one, Satan, who wants you to die for eternity.  Living for eternity is better, and there is only one way, God’s.  How much more can He do?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

False Advertising?

052220I attended a funeral this week.  My aunt.  She was the last sibling to pass on, from my father’s side.  There were 10 of them.  After the grave side service I walked over to my father’s grave.  I cleaned it off and told him I missed him, even though he was a handful to deal with in the last years of his life.

My father was 82 when he passed away.  As I was looking at his tombstone, I saw his favorite photo attached to it.  (See photo)  I laughed as I recalled teasing him, before he passed, about ripping it off of there, with a crowbar.  He’s the one who glued it on there in the first place.  It dawned on me, toward the end of his life, this is how he saw himself, still 21 and a, “Lady’s Man”.  At 70, divorced, he even had wallet size copies made up with his phone number written on the back of them.  He would hand them out to women he met at the dance halls.  I would say to my father, “That’s false advertising!”  He didn’t see the humor in it.

This brings me to a point:  Is how you see yourself, the same as others see you?  Do you think more highly of yourself than you should?  Do you consider yourself to be a better person than others would say you are?  Or, would others say more good things about you than you would say about yourself?  What about when you are at home?  Are you the same person others see in public?  At church?  Ouch!  I’ll admit, at times my wife sees my temper when it takes a lot for it to show up in public.  Reminds me of the book, “Who You Are (When No One is Looking)”.  The title alone was convicting.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,…” Romains 12:3a (NKJV)

Having an accurate, positive, balanced, and God focused image of yourself is very healthy.  I think it helps you relax, as well as those around you.  Anything more could be considered, “false advertising”.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.

If I Could Just Touch

050820 3I love the story, in the Bible, of the woman with the issue of blood.  Not because of her sickness, but because of her faith.  In case you don’t know it, she bled for 12 years.  Broke, and tired of being considered, “unclean” she thought, “If I could just touch the hem of his garment, I would be healed.”  She did, and she was.

To share some personal reflections concerning the time we are living in: you hear some talking about we are in “end times”.  “End times”, meaning the last days on earth as we enter into the days described in a book of the Bible, “Revelation”.  It’s easy to see a path where the world will try to come together and form a “One World Order”.  Using one currency, anywhere in the world.  Buying and selling by placing a chip in one’s hand or forehead.  They would first tell us this is how we have to have our Coronavirus vaccination.  Of course some call that chip, “The Mark of the Beast”.  Crazy?  No.  The Bible talks about it and it may not look exactly like that, but it will happen.

I also think after this first round of the virus you will see a lot of people move out of the “hot spots” and into smaller cities.  Especially now, realizing they can work remotely.

What does all that have to do with those who still believe in God, and the women mentioned at the top of this post?

We will need to have the kind of faith the woman had.  To believe God, no matter what so many others may be trying to convince us of.  To ignore their passion, beliefs, and convictions so we can concentrate on what God says.  Provisions could get scarce tempting us to cave and go along with the multitudes just to survive.  Could we put the carcass of a chicken in a pot at night and believe God for a whole chicken in that pot by the next morning?  Why not?  I heard a testimony of this actually happening.  Is that any harder to believe for than thinking you would be healed just because you managed to touch only the hem of Jesus’ garment?

My point is this:  As the days get harder, and on the outside scarier, will we maintain our faith?  Will we do what it takes to go against the crowd and reach out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment?  I say this, When you reach out and touch Jesus’ garment don’t let go!  Hang on till the very end.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Was a Pig!

050520A pig is very selfish.  Also, it will kick and scream to live until the very last drop of blood drips out of its body.  Pigs will do anything it takes to survive, and to get theirs.  Sound like anyone you know?

Okay, I would like to say I haven’t been that bad, but still, I too was a pig, until, God started converting me, patiently, and lovingly, to be a lamb.

Arthur Katz, in his book, “Reality: The Hope of Glory” writes about the difference in a lamb and a pig.  A lamb is quiet while it gives up its life, but a pig, will squeal and fight to the very end and will not choose, of its own will, to lay down its life for any reason, especially, for the benefit of another.

Art wrote about the experience he was given to take the life of a pig they were planning to roast.  After giving it some thought, he thought it was better to hand the knife to one who knew how to use it with surgical precision.

I don’t want to be a pig.  I don’t want to live the kind of life that would be considered selfish, dirty, self seeking just so my needs can be met.  I want to be a lamb.  In order to become a lamb, I must exercise my free will, and hand God the knife.  I must ask him to cut away, until everything inside of me that resembles a pig, will be removed.  Ouch!

What is my motivation for this desire?  Being a follower of Jesus Christ, and knowing the Bible talks about Jesus being a lamb.

John 1:36 (NET Bible)

Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”

Isaiah 53:7 (NET Bible)

He was treated harshly and afflicted,
but he did not even open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,
like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not even open his mouth.

The scripture in Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus.  Like Jesus did, I too desire to quietly give my life to God, for whatever purpose he has for me.  I don’t want to do it reluctantly, but with gladness in my heart.  Knowing that any personal suffering is only for a moment, but the effects will last forever.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Because He Went Looking

050120 4I had a conversation with one of my neighbors today.  He conveyed a story of one of his, and his wife’s travels back to the U.S. from Uganda.  He shared how the plane developed some trouble and they landed safely in the middle of the night un-expectantly.

After a few hours of mass confusion and people cutting to get in front of him and his wife, they finally got to their hotel room the airlines placed them in.  Ironically, by being one of the last to be taken care of, they found themselves in a five star hotel, and in a plush room.  The airlines does not give out the expensive rooms first!

“Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.” (Mat. 20:16 MSG)

But my neighbor’s story got even better.  They expected to have reached their destination, instead they found themselves delayed, and hungry.  He said he set out to find some food.  When he went back to the main floor of the hotel, he found in a room an impressive spread of food.

The next day they got word the plane was ready.  While in line boarding, a passenger who had spent the night at the same hotel he was at, mentioned how they starved, and how she had to beg a maid for some crackers.  The difference?  My neighbor went looking.

You may be delayed in life, and not sure what the problem is.  You may even be hungry, not for food, but for something that truly satisfies.  I write about it a lot in this blog, but knowing God better than anyone else does satisfy.  God is so loving, funny, comforting, and caring.  You won’t be able to understand my claims unless you go looking for him.  But the truth is this, God has already found you.

Right there where you are, you can make his acquaintance by recognizing Jesus is his Son, realizing he died on a cross to forgive you of your mistakes, and then inviting him into your life.  Afterwards, hang out with God.  Talk to him like he is right beside you, because he is.  A good way of getting to know God is to read the Bible.  I suggest a translation to start with like, “The Message” or “The Passion Translation”.

God already loves you, if you do your part to get to know him, you will fall in love with him.  You will, become satisfied.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Can You Endure?

050120Jobs have disappeared,
God is now worshiped online,
but Love endures.

401s have dried up,
social clubs perhaps have gone viral,
but Love endures.

School, now taught at home,
what jobs remain, are in the room next door,
but Love endures.

Hairstyles have changed,
celebrations have too,
but Love endures.

Handshakes are what?
Careful, stay six feet away,
but Love endures.

N95s are worth more than gold,
liters of water cost more than gas,
but Love endures.

Can’t go here,
can’t go there,
but Love endures.

All of this, because of an unseen villain.
Yet another unseen villain is denied to exist,
but Love endures.

As all the world is fighting Corona,
the other villain has already been defeated,
because Love endured.

Yes, Corona has come and will go,
as will Satan, you should know,
because Love endured.

When Jesus died upon the cross,
he became the perfect sacrifice for us all,
Because Love endured.

There is life after Corona coming soon,
there is eternal life after death if you accept Love, Jesus,
because Love endured.

Satan was defeated, by Love,
Because Love never fails,
and Love endured.

You too can endure to the very end,
by believing, and trusting in Jesus,
Because Jesus endured.

Hebrews 12:2 The Passion Translation (TPT)

We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Who?”

94231915_924151661369801_2906645677645758464_nI received the T shirt pictured here in the mail yesterday.  I laughed, and couldn’t believe my knucklehead friend/ex coworker would do such a thing.  Okay, now you are probably asking yourself, “Who’s Mike?”  Mike was a manager where my friend and I worked.  He was a different soul, went by the book, and talked a lot!  I often wondered how he kept from going hoarse every day.

Over the years, my friend would say something about this Mike, and my standard reply was, “Who?”  I would say most people didn’t care for Mike.  I must admit I was one of them.  My friend knew that.  Mike had a way of doing his best to make sure you knew he was a manager, and that he was smarter than you.  My friend and I were in the union.

There were a lot of people who didn’t like Jesus either.  Yes, when he performed miracles he would draw quite a crowd and then teach them about his heavenly Father.  He taught them about “love”.  He taught them and was an example of a better way to live.  The way of “love”.  To let “love” rule over everything.  All relationships, conversations, and decisions,

because “love” never fails. (1 Cor. 13:8)

To this day, a lot of people are drawn to having a relationship with God, via Jesus.  But not all make that decision to accept Jesus into their life.  I think mainly because they don’t want to change the way they are living.  Although, if they were honest with themselves they would have to admit, the way they live doesn’t provide total peace like knowing Jesus does.  A true follower of Jesus, a disciple, does everything he can to become like Jesus.  To become, “love”.

So, I ask you, “Who wouldn’t want to be like Jesus?”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

No Smell of Fire

042120Do you feel, like right now, you are in the fire?  You were thrown in, because who, in their right mind, would jump in on their own?  Maybe your finances are being consumed, your influence, the things you once counted on to define you, or sustain you, gone!  Burnt up!  You didn’t ask for this, but have been forced into it, and what scares you the most, is you don’t see your way out.

Some are being forced to be quiet during these isolated times.  They are struggling, because they don’t know how to live without “noise”, people, parties, activities around them all the time.  You see, there are some who don’t want to face what their life really is.  It’s not what they wanted, but they haven’t found yet what they “really” need.  They haven’t identified true happiness comes from having a relationship with God.  Talking to him, hanging out with him.

Here is a beautiful story of three young men, who in the midst of crazy life kept their focus on God.  (If you can’t pronounce their names it’s okay.  Just substitute in some other name.  I do this.)

Daniel 3:26-29 The Message (MSG)

26 Nebuchadnezzar went to the door of the roaring furnace and called in, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked out of the fire.

27 All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gathered around to examine them and discovered that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men—not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes,

not even the smell of fire on them!

28 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him! They ignored the king’s orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own.

29 “Therefore I issue this decree: Anyone anywhere, of any race, color, or creed, who says anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be ripped to pieces, limb from limb, and their houses torn down. There has never been a god who can pull off a rescue like this.”

There are people who dismiss others, who claimed to know God when life was good, but these days they can’t look away.  They are watching you in the furnace, to see if you will be consumed by the fire of today’s times, if your God will rescue you, or will it be revealed you, are no different than them.

Know God sees you, loves you, and cares so much for you and for those you love.  Another part of the story, above, is this:  they threw in the three young men, but those looking into the fire saw four men walking around.  You may not see God in this moment with you, but He is.  You can be confident of it.  And perhaps on the other side of these days things aren’t exactly what you would have chosen, if you were in control of the pen writing the story of your life, but because you never took your eyes off of God, you’ll know, it will be okay.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Surviving, Starts With Believing

041720It has been said, faith isn’t grown in a crises, but displayed.  I think today’s times would qualify as a crises.  I’m not trying to brag, but I, as well as many others, have been at perfect peace for the last two months, or so.  How did this come to be?  It started a long time ago:

Jan 1, 2020 to present day = (57) Surviving the Corona Virus peacefully.
Jan 1, 2019 = (56) Trusted God to move to the Philippines and get married.  That is working well.
November 2017 = (55) Followed God to a church, where I have learned more about Him.
September 7, 2017 = (55) Moved into my new house, back in my hometown.  I love it.
September 6, 2017 = (55) believed in God to retire.  I have enjoyed it.  God has and is still providing for all my needs.
June 2012 to September 6, 2017 = (50-55) Survived a threatening work environment, where it seemed as if my boss tried to fire me every day, or make things so hard on me to get me to quit.  If I had of, I would have lost out on half of my pension.
May 1998 = (35) God helped me survive a very rough divorce. (She asked for it, to go in a new direction.)
December 5, 1994 = (32) Started working at AT&T.  God used that company to provide for me and the family.
October 1994 = (32) Trusted and followed God to a new city in hopes of a good job.
August 1990 = (27) Heard God correctly, and moved to a place where I landed a job in two hours.
June 1988 = (25) Got married for the first time.  God had fulfilled the promise of getting married.
March 1986 = (23) Survived a moral failure situation, that at one time, tempted me to take my life.
September 1983 = (21) Followed God to be a youth minister, moved over 1,600 miles from home.
September 1980 = (18) Received a scholarship for more than my grades from H.S. should have allowed.
November 1979 = (17) Got serious about living for God.  Dedicated my life to his service.
August 1967 = (7) While attending Vacation Bible School, invited Jesus Christ into my life, to forgive me of my sins.

God has been so good and faithful to me all these years.  Not all has been perfect, as you can see, but I survived.  Over the years, hearing and reading about God has taught me his true nature, and that is of love.  God loves us so much.  My knowledge, and confidence of God has led me to this present day, these current times, and is why I can live through them with peace.

You don’t have to accept Jesus as a child, as I did, in order to have this kind of confidence in God.  You can start today, but that will require you trusting and believing before you have generated your own testimonies of God’s powerful, and loving hand to lead you, guide you, and sustain you.  It can be done.  How exciting would it be to say your first overcoming experience with God was surviving the Corona Virus, but it all starts with believing.

Psalm 57:1 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Triumphant Faith

Please, God, show me mercy!
Open your grace-fountain for me,
for you are my soul’s true shelter.
I will hide beneath the shadow of your embrace,
under the wings of your cherubim,
until this terrible trouble is past.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.