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.

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.

Wife of the Month

090120I would like to nominate April for “Wife of the Month”.  For the month of September, she can use the special parking space.  That is, if she was here in America, and if she could drive.  She has completed the immigration process, but can’t take the final step because her country is still in “lock down” mode, so the U.S. Embassy isn’t doing interviews.  Being separated is difficult, but I can see how God has used it for His glory thus far.

Last week, I sent her the following message, and though it is personal, she agreed to let me share it:

Baby, I love you! I simply love you, because you have God’s DNA in you, and it shows. In you is peace, joy, faith, hope and love. Of course the greatest of these is, love. Because love, never fails! Baby, when you look back over our short marriage, you can see a trail of love that has dripped over the mountains we have overcome, and across the ocean that separates us now. Without love, God’s love, we would not have come this far. The story of “Mark and April” would have been a short one, but as it is, our story, is still being written.

I couldn’t wait any longer Baby April. I know our 18 month anniversary isn’t until next week, September 1st, but I just had to let the words above out. I was unable to contain them any longer. So Happy Anniversary, April. I am so happy to be known as the American, who married April Joy Santiago Cruz, and has so far, survived.  I am a lucky man who is blessed by God. He loved me so much that He hid you from the eyes of others, for such a time as this. I know two, maybe three of those men looked your way, but because of your wonderful faithfulness to God they gave up in their pursuit.

Our story, feels like it is taking forever to be written, but I know we are steadily moving every day toward his destination for our lives. Baby April, each day it gets easier to love you, because you, like God, are love.

To you April, the love of my life,
Mark

I am grateful for God’s love, and for his tender nudge to try marriage again, after checking the “Divorced” box for 24 years.  April struggled with her singleness a lot, and most who knew her started believing  “marriage” had passed her by.  But God had a plan that took years to connect two individuals who were 8,149 miles apart.  It’s like He set her on a shelf, so she would be available for me that one Friday afternoon, in October 2018, when I first saw her face on a Filipino dating site.

It’s hard to trust God, who doesn’t always share what He is up to, but when you do, it’s worth it!  God is so amazing, and I am so grateful, He first loved us.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Do You Have God’s DNA?

082820 2God’s love, flowing over your soul is like a soft quilt.  You feel warmth, and soothing comfort.  There does seem to be a reverent amount of satisfaction in saying, “I’m a child of God.”  Walking around as if wearing a robe, a mantle, when once seen by others they know immediately you are royalty.  They respond either with respect, or jealously, envy.  They put themselves in a position to help you, or fight you.  People can sense your anointing.  Some are drawn to it, yet others run from it.  It’s not in your control, it just happens.

Pray for both.  Pray that God will bless, lead, and strengthen the ones that are attracted to the anointing on you, and pray God will help align a proper attitude in the ones who resist you, reject you, and simply try to hurt you.

Bless others with your position of power.  Do not use it to cause harm.  Wear the ring which displays the family crest, as a symbol to all that in you, is the mighty, unfailing love of God.  In you they see peace, they see joy, and they see in you a calming spirit despite the turmoil around us.  A spirit of confidence as if you have looked around the corner and somehow you know what is coming next, yet you are not moved.  They see a rock that protrudes out of the stormy waters.  A place of solitude where safety can be found.  You have what you are in need of.  You may not have an abundance, but you have enough, and even some to share with another.  You may stumble, but you do not fall.  You walk with your head up, facing what comes your way, because you know where your next step is, and you take it without fear.

This is what it means to be a child of God, to have his DNA inside of you.  If you can identify, then simply smile.  If you can’t, then I pray you will be drawn to this kind of life.  It can be attained with a simple request of God to come into your life, to make your heart right.  Then, and this next step is vital, get to know your heavenly Father, because the things you want to become, are found in him.  Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father in heaven do.” (John 5:19-20)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Be the Movie

A month ago I was the guest speaker at a writer’s group meeting.  It was an honor, but this speaking engagement was different.  You see with Covid-19 still a great risk, the group currently meets on-line.  I had never done that before.

I was using my phone to attend the meeting, and the way it was set up, whoever was speaking is the person I viewed.  The president of this group introduced me, so she was the last person I saw.

About 20 minutes into my talk, she gets up and goes elsewhere, leaving me with no one to look at while I was speaking.  Normally, a speaker will scan the attendees, making eye contact, and looking for positive feedback at what is being said.

A few minutes later, she came back with a bowl of what looked like popcorn, and a drink.  I thought, wow! now I know what it feels like to be a movie.

The truth is this; if you are open and outspoken about your faith, your relationship with God, then people are watching you.  They listen to what you say, about current issues, our government leaders, and others around us.  They watch how we respond to troubling times.

Would the people watching you give a positive review on “Rotten Tomatoes”?  What if we had “Yelp” for humans?  Would you, would I, receive a thumbs up, or down?  Would people want to visit us after reading an accurate review on one of these platforms?  Probably not, if it was negative.

“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re my true followers.”
John 13:34-35 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Jesus knew people will watch us, for they watched him.  He was ever aware that he could only display the qualities of his father, God.  Those would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22-23)

So be aware of this no matter where you are, whether at work, out and about, or at home.  You want your life to be a movie people want to see over and over again.

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.

The Naked Tree

91878710_1505334622963387_7096843525702025216_nMy neighbor, across the street, is taking down his own tree, as you can see in the photo.  I looked out the window and commented, “That tree looks naked.”  I laughed, but then realized it will no longer serve its purpose.  The tree’s beauty will no longer be admired.  The shade, the tree once provided, the comfort, will no longer be there.

There is another tree, we tend to think about this week, in fact today, that was cut down, stripped of its leaves, and shaped to serve a purpose other than the one it was created for.  That’s right, the tree that was used as the cross Jesus was nailed to.  That tree would no longer be able to fulfill its original purpose, but was stolen by Satan, to be used for his purpose.

Then there is the Tree of Life, Jesus.  At the prime of his ministry, the religious leaders cut him down, took action to stop him from fulfilling his purpose.  They arrested Jesus, and made false accusations about him.  They stripped him of his outer garment, he became practically naked.  They beat him, and cut him as he was flogged with a whip that had stones in the ends of it.  They nailed him to the cross, and couldn’t wait for him to die.

Neither could Satan.

People ran and quarantined, hid themselves in their homes out of fear.  Kind of sounds like today’s times.  They thought all hope was gone.  Jesus had walked among them and showed them how to live, but more importantly, he showed them how to love.

The ironic thing, concerning the life of Jesus is this, those that were used by Satan to try to stop Jesus’ original purpose actually helped him achieve it.  Three days after they thought the story had ended, a new chapter began.  Jesus rose up and exited the grave, because he had defeated death.  Many of you may be feeling like your story is about to end, but no one has written, “The End” yet.  Jesus’ new story opens with him defeating all pain, all diseases, all sickness, and death itself.

Right now, it may feel like Friday night after Jesus had died, or Saturday afternoon, but Sunday is coming!  You may be losing hope, but Hope hasn’t lost you.  Your faith might feel weak, but the Author and Finisher of our faith is now seated at the right hand of God.  (Heb. 12:2)  And Jesus, the Tree of Life, is no longer naked, but clothed in glory!

Happy Resurrection Day Everybody!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Over?

Charlie 26Christmas is over, at least the actual day.
Don’t throw out the Spirit of Christmas in anyway.
But let the Spirit of Christmas last into the new year,
and live your life with joy, and without any fear.

Continue to smile as through your day you go,
give cheerfully to those in need, even if their names you don’t know.
Be nice to your family, and show that you really do care,
you don’t want to spread hate, especially there.

Jesus gave it all up to be born unto you,
He came for more than just one day, in fact with us to spend eternity through.
Continue to believe in him, accept him despite what you hear and see,
cling to him when times are hard and you just don’t know what will be.

Jesus is your Savior, your Comforter, your Prince of Peace,
Your Counselor, your mighty God, so much more than a Christmas wreath!
So as you clean up from the actual Christmas day,
I beg you not to throw away the Spirit of Christmas, in any way.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Chaos

nikko-macaspac-263785-unsplash

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

The rains pour down, the grass grows tall,
the sun comes out, and the lawnmower won’t start at all.
I need to get to work, but the car is making a funny sound,
I take it in to the shop and he said, “No issue can be found.”

The kid gets sick, so to the doctor we must go,
I tried to pick up the prescription, but the store says, “No.”
No money on my card, but I just got paid,
I call the bank, they research, “Oh, sorry, a mistake was made.”

I wake up to find water on the kitchen floor,
Great!  The refrigerator gone out, and the frozen foods leaked out the door.
The neighbor’s kid was outside playing baseball,
a home run hit, ball through my window, it’s now in my hall.

The alarm doesn’t ring, I guess the power went out,
I’m late for work, and my boss yells and shouts.
My spouse fell and tore their work clothes too,
how are we going to replace with all these bills due?

Why is my life such a chaotic mess?
I’m so tired of all this distress!
Is this life?  For better or for worse?
I can’t take it any longer, so put me in a hearse!

Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, so he’s behind it all,
Jesus came to give abundant life.  To restore things after “The Fall”.
Adam and Eve, thought they could do life on their own,
they disobeyed God, life became hard, and so they moan.

Accepting Jesus isn’t a magic pill, to make the chaos all go away,
but you can devote yourself to Him, and with you He will stay.
All the chaos is just one big distraction, keeping you from God,
Speak to it, in the name of Jesus, “Peace be still”, even if it feels odd.

God tells us to take dominion over the earth, to rule with him in this life.
We don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, so you won’t even need a knife.
Use the power He gives you, in His name.  Drive out evil spirits that disrupt,
Call forth peace, joy, and love to come into your life.  These things are not corrupt!

You can live life now, the way God first intended, rich and full,
you don’t have to put up with the chaos, which is nothing, but Satan’s bull!
It’s up to you.  A life of peace, or a life of crises,
Give your life to Jesus, and you can overcome, Satan’s devices.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jollibee

20181220_215148On a recent trip to the Philippines, I saw a lot of life I had never seen before. I experienced several new things as food, phrases, and culture. One thing that I couldn’t help but notice was the local rival to McDonalds, Jollibee. It has what McDonalds has as well a local favorite, chicken with rice and gravy.

Something that really stood out were the people. One, there were a lot of them. Two, as in America, there were different classes of them, but the lowest class seemed to be living in a darkness like I had never seen. Their eyes were so dim, as if the light was about to go out of their lives. They certainly have nothing to “bee jollie” about.

I looked at some and managed to do or say something that brought a small smile to their faces, but soon, the reality of their world would return, and the smiles faded. In those moments, what I really wanted was the time and the ability to share in their local language, Tagalog the hope of Jesus Christ that is within me. Just knowing Jesus is there with me in this life brings joy. He gives me a reason to “bee jollie”.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Ps. 42:11 NIV)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady  All rights reserved