Go

This past week, William Shatner boldly went where no other 90 year old had gone before.  When asked, “What do you want to do when you get there?”  Shatner replied, “Come back down!”

It got me to thinking, Am I where God wants me to be?  Have I gone where God has asked me to boldly go?  Being obedient to God’s calling can be challenging some times.  It may also offer opportunities to be scared.  I can’t announce it yet, but He has recently asked me to go do something that in the natural doesn’t make sense.  The few close friends I have told have been greatly surprised, and are probably secretly wondering if I am qualified.

But I am going.  I have found over the years that when I am obedient in an area I do not feel naturally comfortable that it is in those times I rely on God all the more.  I lean not to my own understanding.  As a result, I am happy that I obeyed.  I generally realize the task was easier than it first seemed in my mind.  And when made known to me, I am excited with the results of what God did through me.

God is speaking to some of you right now.  Reading this post has brought to your mind something God’s Spirit has whispered to your heart to go do.  It may not be to go to the mission field, but possibly go across the aisle in your office, or across the street.  Go.  Go boldly.  You don’t always get to know the results of your obedience this side of heaven, but you should go anyway.  Don’t judge the results by what your eyes see, or don’t see.  You are not responsible for the results.  You’re simply asked to be obedient.

You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life! Deu. 13:4 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Do You Need a Tune Up?

You know, perhaps the hard way, that every once in a while you have to take your car in for a tune up, or for maintenance.  New tires for traveling, new spark plugs so you don’t lose that fire, or the oil changed because it is dirty.

In a relationship with God, there are times when you need a tune up as well.  Most likely more often than your car.  You cannot simply start your relationship with God, and then simply turn on the cruise control.  You can’t take your foot off of the gas pedal and coast either.  You won’t make it over the next mountain if you do that.  It doesn’t work that way.  If you try, you will get stuck, or worse, breakdown.  Have you ever noticed that breakdowns don’t occur at good times?

Your local, or TV minister don’t tell you to pray, and read your Bible just for the heck of it!  They know that is the easiest way to stay finely tuned in your relationship with God.  Or one could say, in tune with God.  Walking in perfect step, harmony with him at his pace.

So above all, guard the affections of your heart,
    for they affect all that you are.
    Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
    for from there flows the wellspring of life. Pro. 4:23 (TPT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Discarded

Do you easily discard things?  Do you ever feel as though you have been discarded?  In America, many things are thrown out without a second thought.  We even have a phrase here of, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  Some people have even started making a living by going around and collecting items that have been placed by the curb.  They see that those items still have value.  They will take them to a shop, clean them up and resell them.

There can be lots of good reasons to throw something out.  It could truly be trash, or something that no longer fits, or an item that is no longer needed, or wanted.  And instead of taking the time to find that item a new home it is simply discarded.

But what if the item no longer wanted is a person?  “This isn’t working out.  I want a divorce.”  It seems these days that relationships are too easily discarded.  Instead of staying together and lovingly trying to find the real root of the problem(s) people just give up.  I suppose “working” on a marriage is too difficult or time consuming to some.  The issue could be this; one partner doesn’t see the value of the other.  That’s sad.

Every person has value.  Yes, it can be difficult to see at times, but it is there.  If you don’t see it then ask God to help you see it.  I have a relative who is so hateful and mean to others.  I admit I struggle to see their value, but I know it is there.  I do know they help out financially a young family, so maybe that is it.

When Jesus Christ walked the face of the earth the religious leaders of that day wanted to discard him.  Why?  He spoke of love, he introduced God, he healed the sick, and not only taught, but demonstrated a better way to live life.  When he grew in popularity they were “afraid” he would run them out of power and control of the masses.  So they schemed to discard of him.  Of course we know from the Bible that He got the last word.  By showing them that even though they did all within their power, God’s power is greater and he arose from the dead three days after they killed him.  They failed to see his value, or perhaps didn’t want to.

If you are feeling discarded today know this; you have value.  God has placed something inside of you that only you can give away for free in your own unique way.  Don’t believe those who have their own issues to overcome who show you hate, and please stop believing the lies of the devil!  He will put thoughts in your head that could cause you to discard your own life.  Don’t!  If there is no one else around who can see your value know that God does, because He loves you and placed inside you a gift, a treasure, a heart of love to give away.

Jesus heard them and answered, “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.” Mark 2:17 (GNT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Search Me?

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life. Ps. 139:23-24 (MSG)

It takes guts to pray the above prayer.  Most of us don’t want to face the truth of who we really are.  And in fact go great lengths at times to hide the darker side of ourselves, from others, and even from ourselves.  My pastor last Sunday challenged us to do just that.  To have God examine us and see if there was any wrong in us.  Whether deeds, motives, or actions.

There are some people that have such an intense time facing who they really are that they try their best to stay busy.  One guy I know said he is always looking for the next party.  The worst time for these people is when they are alone in the dark and they can’t sleep, their conscience begins to speak.  That is probably why these same people medicate themselves before going to bed so they do not have to listen to their inner voice.

That inner voice is doing its job.  It’s trying hard to get a person to face truth.  Truth they have done some things in life that were wrong and they are in need of having those things forgiven.  Another force at work is that of the Holy Spirit.  One of his jobs is to draw us to God via the forgiving power of Jesus.

If you find yourself in this situation the only thing to do is yield.  Give up trying to write your own religion and accept the relationship that God has already provided.  Say to God, “then guide me on the road to eternal life.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Not Automatic

I stood there in the bathroom with soap on my hands.  Soap that was dispensed automatically.  In an automatic world there is now a dispenser that tells me how much soap is enough, and a towel dispenser only gives me enough to wipe a finger or two.  So why wouldn’t there be an auto faucet that turns on for me and decides what temperature is appropriate? I’ve seen them before.

I moved my hands up and down, back and forth, closer and further away trying to get the water to turn on.  All the while soap was dripping from my hands.  I tried everything.  Over and over again.  Then, I guess the man waiting behind me had enough.  He reached around me and turned the water on by raising the lever.

Having a relationship with God is not automatic either.  Going to church doesn’t determine your destination for eternity.  Have you ever noticed at most funerals the friends and family assumes their loved one is in heaven?  The Bible says this:

Enter through the narrow gate because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction—nearly everyone chooses that crowded road! Mat. 7:13 (TPT)

So odds are, unless their friend, or loved one made a public confession of their faith in Jesus Christ and have asked for the forgiveness of their sins they aren’t in heaven.  Sorry, but that is truth from the word of God.  Not my words.

God wants to have a relationship with us.  He gave us his only son to die for us which paves the way.  God invites us and has done all but make the decision for us.  He leaves that to us and our freewill.  The relationship with God is not automatic.  Your sins aren’t washed away automatically without asking Jesus to cleanse you.  How you live after you are in the kingdom of God is between you and him.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Phl. 2:12-13 (NKJV)

The above words are good words to live by, and to the man who helped me in the bathroom, “Thank you.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Christmas at Denny’s Tonight

I dream of what my life might have been, if only…

Do you live with regret?  I could, if I allowed myself to.  I sometimes wonder what the church would look like if I had stayed on track and became the pastor I believed God had called me to be.  Would we, the people of the church be an Acts chapter 2 type of church?  Believing in, and walking out the power of the Holy Spirit.  Would we see souls saved daily?  What about signs and wonders?  If only.

But instead, I stopped holding on to, waiting for the promises of God, and I accepted the devil’s substitute for my life, because it was there, now, in the moment.  I just had to believe the lies he was telling me that it was okay.  Kind of like accepting the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, Satan tempts or attacks us where we are weak.

Life didn’t end there, for me, as I imagined it would.  I could have become a shell of a man.  I didn’t.  I received God’s forgiveness, asked that his Spirit not depart from me, and moved on.  That is what one should do when things don’t work out the way we think they should.

I read a post on Facebook the other day.  A young woman just had a child in the hospital, but after returning home her and her husband came down with Covid.  The baby was fine, but had to be separated from his new mother.  The baby’s father had to return to the hospital, this time in the intensive care unit.  The young mother wrote something along the lines of, “We dreamed of hiking in the mountains with a tour guide.  But now we are hiking through this with the Lord as our guide.”

Life is not going the way they dreamed, but her focus remains on target.  On the Lord.

That is the only way to deal with potential regret.  Give it to him, and continue to seek him for guidance, for his leading.  He knows the way.  Life may feel like Christmas at Denny’s, but it doesn’t have to.  It comes down to your perspective.  Your view of life.  Is your current situation a set back?  A delay?  A roadblock, or simply a detour?  No matter what it is, God can speak into your spirit and say, “Recalculating.”  God knows the way.  He will get you through the storm and to the other side.

Trust in the Lord completely,
    and do not rely on your own opinions.
    With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
    and he will lead you in every decision you make.
Become intimate with him in whatever you do,
    and he will lead you wherever you go Prov. 3:5-6 (TPT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“One Way, or Round Trip?”

Unfortunately, death has been all around me lately.  Not in my personal family, but in the families of others and some people I know.  My mother-in-law informed us on the street she lives, there is one person, or more who die every day.  She lives in the Philippines.  Covid is a thief of life!

But yet others have passed away from illnesses and diseases we are more acquainted with, like cancer.  Losing a family member, friend, neighbor, or a coworker hurts.  We mourn, grieve, and cry, because we will miss them, and that’s understood.  Although the pain can be great, when one we know passes but has first accepted Jesus Christ as God’s son, and has made a public confession of their faith in him, then we can be assured we will see them again.  Our grief is temporary as the sting of death first hits us.  That statement is only true if we too have accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts, asking him to forgive us of every wrong thing we have ever done.  I sense I need to write that there is nothing you have done that God will not forgive, nothing!

I had a coworker several years back that believed in reincarnation.  I learned that as we talked about life after death while riding the commuter train out of Chicago, IL.  We respected each other’s views and opinions.  You might say he believed that life offered up “Round Trip” tickets.  My view was it’s a “One Way” ticket.  Meaning, you only get one opportunity to make that important decision to accept Jesus.

27 Every human being is appointed to die once, and then to face God’s judgment. 28 But when we die we will be face-to-face with Christ, the One who experienced death once for all to bear the sins of many!  Heb. 9:27-28 (TPT)

As my friend and I debarked the train, I turned to him and said, “If you are right, and I am wrong, then I have nothing to be concerned about.  But if I am right, and you are wrong, then you will find yourself standing before God explaining to him why you didn’t accept him in your one life.”  I went on to explain that the wages of sin, unforgiven wrong deeds, is death.  For eternity!  As one of my cousins said, “Eternity is a very long time!”

So I ask you, before you die, “Would you like a one way ticket?”  Oh, and by the way, no charge.  Jesus paid the price for you when he died on the cross.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Being Pursued

I asked my wife, April the other day if she felt guilty for living in America now, knowing the rest of her family and friends were still in the Philippines.  I think I would, at least a little.  But her immediate reply was profound, and full of wisdom.  She said, “No.  Not at all.  For God has bestowed upon me “favor” for all of my sacrifices.”  Her response surprised me, and after more pondering I realized it was true, and balanced.

Is this the realization of the verse in Psalms 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”?

My friend and I were discussing this issue, and he mentioned hearing a message where the minister talked about “favor” pursuing you.  Hunting you down, if you will.  I take that as meaning this; blessings coming your way and upon your life before you even ask God for help or even perhaps before you are aware you have a need.

So how does one enter a life of being pursued?  By fully, completely placing all of your trust and faith in God.  Walking and communicating with God on a daily basis.  Doing your best to live according to his commands.  By the way, those commands don’t exist to “harsh your mellow”, but to actually give you a good life free from hurt, pain, and harm.

In the last month my wife and I have had some blessings come our way and they were unexpected.  We weren’t looking for them, but they found us.  We appreciate it a lot and are thankful we have favor with God.  He loves his children and wants to do good things for He is a loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When God Was Still by My Side

“Oh, how I long for the good old days,
    when God took such very good care of me.
He always held a lamp before me
    and I walked through the dark by its light.
Oh, how I miss those golden years
    when God’s friendship graced my home,
When the Mighty One was still by my side
    and my children were all around me,
When everything was going my way,
    and nothing seemed too difficult.”

Do you find yourself saying something similar in the days of late?  Are you longing for the days when life seemed easier?  I have.  Reality, though, is this; those days had their own problems, but with that said, there is more “hate” these days and “perverted lifestyles” right in front of our faces.

Another reality is this; God hasn’t changed.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  It may seem harder to detect his presence, see the path He wants us to walk, but He is still there.  He still graces our homes.

Maybe things in life aren’t going “your” way, but they very well could be going “God’s” way.

Though the days may be different, God is the same, so we need to trust in him the way we did back in the “good old days”.  We need to remember not to look, or focus on the lives of those around us, or the hate being spewed by hurt people, but to keep our gaze on him, who is, and will forever be in control of all things, and know this; God is still by your side!

The above quote was spoken by Job in Job 29:1-6 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s in the Bag

“911. What’s your emergency?”

The first words you hear when you call for help.

They are there to meet your needs.  To rescue you. To assist you in your time of need.  So is God.  He wants us to ask him for help and not JUST in emergencies either.  Our God, our heavenly Father cares about all aspects of our lives.  Even the things that may be considered trivial.

Last weekend as I was walking into a home improvement store I asked God for help.  You see, I’m not a plumber.  I turned down isle 14 and there were two store associates talking and one of them looked at me and said, “Do you need help?”  Perhaps he saw fear on my face or something.  I said, “Yes”, and begin describing to him my project.  He stopped me and said, “You’re over complicating it, as he reached down to a lower shelf and picked up a bag of plumbing parts.  He instructed me that everything I needed for the project was in the bag.  I later found out he was a plumber for 20 years.

This is more than a clique verse.  It is truth:

 ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’ Jer. 33:3 (MSG)

Learn to take everything to God.  All of your cares, concerns, and frustrations too.  He knows already, but the point is knowing that He knows, and that the very God who created and rules the universe cares.

Whatever it is, it’s not too big for God, nor too small.

Now that will tweet!  Accept this truth, but more importantly, apply it.  Let God help you and give him the opportunity to say to you, “It’s in the bag.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.