Craig

I met Craig at a church called Redeeming Grace
Like he understood my “I don’t want to be here” face
I felt out of place and I smelled like beer
But he just shook my hand, said “I’m glad you’re here”
He said “we’ll all be judged”
But he was never judgemental
And even though my songs don’t belong in no hymnal,
He’d quote me my lyrics, slap me on the back,
Said “Man you’ve got a gift! How you write like that?”

I know, he sounds cool right?
Not your typical kid from Sunday School, right?
I still ain’t figured out church yet
But Craig, I get
Nah he can’t walk on water, turn the Napa Valley red
But he just might be tight with a man that did

Yeah he’s not the light of the world,
But I wish that mine was bright as his
Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is

You lose a record deal, all the perks fade fast
Dealership said, “We’re going to need to get that mini-van back”
So we were down on one car
And broke as I felt,
My wife and six kids with only five seat belts
I needed help but couldn’t admit, I was strong
Said, “Craig, it’s all good”
But he knew it all wasn’t
A “Hey man I’m praying for you” would’ve been sufficient but nah
He took roadside assistance to a
Whole other level, to sacrificial heights

Showed up at the ballpark after my son’s game one night
In two cars, with his wife Barb watching from the other
Said “What in the world are y’all doing here, brother?”
He just laughed inside that old Chrysler Town and Country van
With the keys, and a title, and a pen in his hand
Said “Man, all you got to do is sign and it’s yours”
I said “No, no way”
But he wouldn’t take “No” for an answer
Said “Please do,
Somebody did this for me once, just let me do this for you”
We argued about it for a little while
Then I teared up, and Craig smiled

I know, he sounds cool right?
Not your typical kid from Sunday School, right?
Nah he can’t walk on water, turn the Napa Valley red
But he just might be tight with a man that did
Yeah he’s not the light of the world,
But I wish that mine was bright as his
Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is

My pride was way too ashamed to be adequately grateful at the moment
But I signed the dotted line, and I drove the kids home
And when the cop pulled up beside us
At the light, they didn’t have to duck
Because thanks to Craig
They were all buckled up

“Craig” by songwriter: Walker Hayes.

God, Crazy?

If you created something, perfected it, and then gave it away, most would call you crazy!

If you gave your only child’s life, so that someone else could live, most would call you crazy!

God did those very things. He made you, and then gave you away to exercise your own freewill! And when you failed, and would then die for eternity in hell, he gave you his only Son, Jesus to pay for your failures, sins. Jesus’ blood was spilled for you. God’s only Son purchased you back, so you could live for eternity in heaven with your maker. BUT then he gave you away again, because He wants you to CHOOSE to love him, and accept him.

Some might call what God did, “crazy”,
but He calls it, “love”!

Yes, God loves you that much! It doesn’t matter what you have done, He loves you regardless.

“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)

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Rom. 8:37-39 (MSG)

“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.  Isaiah 55:8-9 (MSG)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Show God Cares

It amazes me still, how God can lead our steps, and direct our timing so we will be where he needs us to be, to work with him in showing love, support, and encouragement to others. He cares so much for people and what they are going through that He will position his servants where He needs them.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Ps. 37:23 (KJV)

April and I were talking about this subject last week. I reminded her of one thing; you have to see the people and recognize the need. It may mean your own agenda gets interrupted, or you may get behind, but showing God’s love is more important.

I remember one time I had taken the wrong road to get to Walmart. I was angry with myself because I had gone the slow way when I was in a hurry! When I arrived I looked over and saw an older woman struggling to remove packs of soda from her cart. I went and asked if I could help her.  She let me. Then she asked, “Where did you come from any way?” I replied, “God sent me!” The look on her face was priceless. One of amazement realizing, perhaps for the first time, God cared!

Show the world how much He cares about them and even the little things of their life. The results may be eternal life, for them!

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Crumbs of Rumors

“I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
    now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

Job 43:5-6 (MSG)

There are a lot of people who only hear about God, but they have never “experienced” God for themselves!  They “go” to church thinking that He takes attendance, or something. He doesn’t! As if their “going to church” is the only thing required of them in order to go to heaven. I would think after hearing how great God is, how marvelous, how wonderful, and how loving they would want to spend time getting to know him. You know, reading his number one, bestselling, book, and talk to him on a regular basis.

I find it difficult to understand why they only want to “hear” about God. Perhaps they attend a church service that is lifeless, an hour of following the same rules week after week, therefore thinking that knowing God is not life at all? On the contrary, knowing God is really living! The most exciting adventure you will ever experience!

I have heard others say their priest or minister has told them the Bible is too difficult to understand. The truth is, the gospel of Jesus Christ is so simplistic that even a child can understand and accept it. Don’t over complicate the Word of God, or his plan of salvation. It’s all about an “invitation of the dying love”. That sounds like a book’s subtitle I once heard of.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Now Serving Number 5”

You hear the announcement, and yes, you look down at the number on the tag you pulled out of the dispenser when you walked in, even though you already know it wasn’t your number they called. You might as well be holding number “2275”.

 Sad, but at least in America we are so impatient. We are spoiled. We are used to getting things now. Unfortunately, there are times when we take that attitude toward waiting for things from God. We make our needs known to God, and then we have to wait for the answer. Depending on the situation it can be extremely difficult. We wonder, “Did He even hear me?”

 When we don’t see the answer we expect, and by the time we feel we need it, we can develop an attitude, toward others and even toward God. The truth is how do you know God isn’t working on it? What do you think He is doing? Here is what Oswald Chambers says:

 “We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”

I like how Chambers worded this issue. When we “ask” God, then our next step is to “trust” God. Know, be confident that He has heard you and that He “is” working things out in the way that is “best” for you. Keep in mind, God isn’t working on one request at a time, but on every request of everyone around the world who ask, all at the same time. He doesn’t take care of one request and then call the next number of whoever is line. Yes God is that omnipotent and powerful, but also so loving that He puts on every job a personal touch designed just for you.  And that my friend is called, “Love”!

Fun for all ages

Have you ever met someone for the very first time, and you immediately like them? They are usually smiling, relaxed, mild mannered, and you just begin to match their level of gel.  You find yourself feeling like they value you, and they aren’t in a hurry to get away from you. As if in that very moment, you are the only thing and one that matters.

I believe Jesus was just that kind of person. I think this is why he appealed to men, women, some high ranking officials, sinners and children. Honestly, the only ones that he didn’t appeal to were the ones who felt as if his way of living threatened their livelihood, or power.

It was this kind of appeal that gave him the ability to talk about “love”, “forgiveness”, and “the Kingdom of God”. Because of how he made them feel they listened! And many times they responded positively. Would we get the same results if we drew people toward us as he did?  That should be the goal anyway.

It was Paul who said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Cor.11:1) Paul obviously recognized this about Jesus and strived to imitate him. Three practical steps to living this kind of life:

  1. See the people.  Be observant to the people around you while being attentive to the Holy Spirit who may prompt you to speak to them.
  2. .See the need in their life.  You do this step by listening to them. Not just talking about yourself. It’s not always about you!
  3. .See the path they should take to find God. Whether they need forgiveness, healing, or some other type of ministry, we should then lead them along that path.

Ask God to help you declutter your own life so you will have the time to spend with people. One thing I learned from my father is this; spending time with people is a gift. We should be generous.”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Circus Town

I have lived in Oklahoma for at least half my life, but I learned something new the other day. “Circus Town” Back when circuses were popular, and traveled from town to town 22 different ones wintered in Hugo, Oklahoma. Hugo, came to be known as “Circus Town”.

I know what you are saying, “Now Mark, how in the world are you going to share a kingdom principle out of this?” Watch me.

In this town, the circus people became one. They married, they had families, children, and yes, they even died there.  Others would be out on the road and when they died, they had asked to be buried in the “Circus Town” cemetery. From the three ring leaders, to the clowns, bearded ladies, and lion trainers they were family. They had a common interest in life, unity, and such as it was, they wanted to be buried together in their final resting place.  The town’s cemetery is filled with unique tomb stones to say the least! As pictured above the markers typically mentioned what the person did in the circus.

Believers, those who follow Jesus Christ also have common interest and expect to be together, not in their final resting place, but in eternity with Jesus.

So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. Phi. 2:2 (TPT)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Look in the Mirror

What makes people decide to accept God?

  1. The airplane is about to crash!
  2. They’re afraid of hell.
  3. A life changing moment.
  4. They are so moved by the love of God.

For me, it was the second one.  I was only 7 and we attended a church that was pastored by a “hell fire and brimstone” preacher.  Meaning, he held nothing back when it came to sharing what sin, wrong doing in your life, truly cost. At that age, I was a convicted cookie thief!  I disobeyed my mother and then would lie about it.  I was afraid if I died without God’s forgiveness I would go to hell. As I got older I learned being saved from your sins was actually about having a relationship with a loving God through Jesus.

But for others what is it? What has to happen in their life to get them to realize how loving God is? Do they need to be face to face with death before they will finally make a decision? What if they don’t have a conscience mind when they are crossing the threshold between life and death? By not making a decision is making a decision.

58 Then they pounced on him and threw him outside the city walls to stone him. His accusers, one by one, placed their outer garments at the feet of a young man named Saul of Tarsus. 59 As they hurled stone after stone at him, Stephen prayed, “Our Lord Jesus, accept my spirit into your presence.” 60 He crumpled to his knees and shouted in a loud voice, “Our Lord, don’t hold this sin against them.” And then he died.
Acts 7:58-60 (TPT)

I am convinced this really messed with Saul.  So because the Holy Spirit had been drawing him to God, when he saw Jesus appear he was ready to believe. You see, God had been pursuing Saul.

So he obtained the authorization and left for Damascus. Just outside the city, a brilliant light flashing from heaven suddenly exploded all around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a booming voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5–7 The men accompanying Saul were stunned and speechless, for they heard a heavenly voice but could see no one. Saul replied, “Who are you, Lord?” “I am Jesus, the Victorious, the one you are persecuting Acts 9:3-7 (TPT)

Talk about a life changing moment! Wow.

God is pursuing you too! If you pay attention to moments in life you will see God. You bump into him more than you realize. It’s like the car mirror, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. God is closer than you think.

“The only way people come to me is by the Father who sent me—he pulls on their hearts to embrace me. And those who are drawn to me, I will certainly raise them up in the last day.” John6:44 (TPT)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

He Finished Well

Later today, I am going to the funeral of the man pictured here, a friend.  I have known this man for probably 54 years.  After I heard the news last Friday evening, I was latter on Facebook.  A lady from his church posted his obituary and arrangements.  Below her post, people who knew him, started remembering, and honoring him.  They commented about his smile, his kindness, his servant’s heart, and his laughter. They were good words.

I begin reflecting on this out pouring of love, and thought about what kind of life one lives that moves people to respond as they were.  It didn’t take long for the answer to appear in my heart.

First, and foremost, you love.  You love God, and then love others.  You chose to ignore what other people say about someone, and you love them anyway.

Secondly, you show kindness.  You show it at work, at church, in your community, and at home.  With customers, family and friends.

Third, you serve others, which really is “love” in action. One man posted how my friend came and got them after their car would not start.

You do all this, not to receive kind words spoken or written about you when you die, but because this is the example Christ demonstrated for us while he walked the earth.  It’s simply the kind of life God calls us to.

I have fought an excellent fight. I have finished my full course with all my might and I’ve kept my heart full of faith. There’s a crown of righteousness waiting in heaven for me, and I know that my Lord will reward me on his day of righteous judgment. And this crown is not only waiting for me, but for all who love and long for his unveiling.  2 Tim. 4:7-8 (TPT)

In the above verse, Paul compares living life on earth as a race. It’s not a competition though with others to see who finishes first, second, or third. And unlike youth community sports programs, not everyone will receive a participation trophy! It’s about reaching the finish line, with God, and in my friend’s case, he finished well.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.