The Power of Praise

Okay.  I’m going to go all Steven Furtick on ya now:
You think you are all ALONE, but God is right there with you!
You believe the lie that your MARRIAGE is over, but God says, “Commit it to me!
”You think your JOB is going nowhere, but God wants to show you why you are there!
You were promised a PALACE, but you are in a PIT, God says, “Its part of the journey!”

Yes, LIVING is hard, but God is greater!
Yes HEAVEN seems so far away, but it is closer than you think!
One way to overcome life is through the power of praise.  It works.  It lifts your spirit, it strengthens your faith.  Whether you simply praise God with just words, or if you add music.

From the song, “Praise Him”
Let praise be a weapon that conquers all anxiety
We sing your name in the dark and it changes everything
Let it rise, let praise arise.
We’ll watch the giants fall

Fear cannot survive when we praise You
The God of breakthrough’s on our side
Forever lift Him high
With all creation cry,
God we praise You

Oh, we praise You, oh

Let faith be the song that overcomes the raging sea
Let faith be the song that calms the storm inside of me
Let it rise, let praise arise

This is what living looks like
This is what heaven sounds like
We praise You, we praise You

Try praising God despite what you see, or hear in the natural.  Then witness the power that comes with it, or through it, for yourself.  You will be glad you did.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

How Fortunate!

I seldom get down, and depressed, but it happened the other day.  I knew what all was bothering me, but I could not come up with an answer to the problem.

I asked God, “What should I do?”

I sensed He whispered, “Love”.

I thought for a moment and said, “What else you got?”

His answer seemed impossible considering the circumstances, so I continued to remain quiet, and sad.

I wrote, just last week, how God gets creative whenever He communicates with us.  Last night, He just showed off!  A friend texted with a request to help her and so we agreed and went over to a different neighborhood than ours and took care of her need.  I could have completed the task by myself, but thought about the restaurants in that area and asked my wife if she would go with me.  I didn’t tell her what I was planning, but I knew one of her favorite eating establishments was close by.

I took care of the deed, and then drove about a block to the Chinese restaurant.  The look on my wife’s face of pure excitement and joy was worth the trip alone.  We ordered and she went and found us a place to sit to enjoy our meal.  I, on the other hand, got our drink, plastic ware, napkins, soy sauce, and of course a fortune cookie.  There was a whole basket of cookies, but I randomly picked one.

We ate and then I cracked opened the cookie.  Now, I am not one to believe in fortunes, or horoscopes, or the like, but when I read the message inside, I knew it was meant to be.  It read,

“Hope is the most precious treasure to a person.”

As the, so called, “random” message sunk in, I sensed a feeling of love, and God saying, “Gottcha!”  I believe in hope, I write about the importance of hope, and of the power of hope.  In that moment all of my depression left, and I knew the situation was going to be okay, and yes, his earlier message of “Love” was going to be the key.

God speaks.  Look for his words, seek them out, expect them, and listen when He does whisper to your soul.  He communicates because He loves us so much.

God always answers, one way or another,
    even when people don’t recognize his presence.
Job 33:14 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Love at First Sight

“No!  I won’t allow it,” said the editor of my novel, “Kill the Preacher Man”.  (Not yet published.)  “I write romance novels, and love doesn’t happen that fast,” she went on to say.  I considered her chastising comments and thought, I’m not writing a romance novel!  Besides, over my many years, I have heard several stories where one, or the other of a married couple knew early on they had met their mate.  I myself have fallen in love with a woman at first sight.  Twice!  The second one, I married.

My current wife, I first saw a postage size photo of her, and said, “Wow!  Who is that?”  I wanted to click on her profile first and find out more about her.  I know now, what I saw that Friday afternoon, was the love of God in her.  I have written about it before in a post titled, “The April Affect”.  God’s love is so strong in her that people who have never met her are attracted to her.  Especially children.

So if it is possible to fall in love with someone at first sight, then shouldn’t it be possible to fall in love with God at first sight?  After all, we are made in his image.  Now not everyone acts like God, but that’s the individual’s fault, not Gods.

Yes, there are some that are crazy about God right after they meet him.  They accept his free gift of salvation and feel instant relief from the burden of sin, and they go around telling everybody about their new love.

For others, it seems as if their love of God grows as the relationship grows.  As they learn, or discover the benefits of being in a relationship with God they appreciate and their love for him grows.

A popular church proclaims, “For whoever finds God, finds life.”  I like to say, “For whoever finds God, finds love.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

First Church of Walmart

A few weeks ago, we were in a small town, in Oklahoma, on a Sunday morning, and there weren’t many people stirring around.  There were a couple of gas stations open and one donut shop.

A few days later we were warned not to go to the Walmart in that town on a Sunday morning, because all of the crazies are there at that time, instead of being in church.  Now there are a few crazies at church too, I’ve met them, but I’m talking about the ones that make the front page of Facebook as to how they dress when they go to Walmart.  Oh come on, you know what I’m talking about, and you have laughed probably harder than I have!

We went to church this past Sunday.  Yes, in person, where previously we had attended online.  My first time since January of 2020.  I said I wouldn’t go back until my toilet paper hoarding pile was used up. (kidding) I got to say, It felt good, to be with others worshiping God.  I definitely sensed the presence of God among us, but I must add there were plenty of times I sensed his presence here at home as well.

You see, “going to church” doesn’t save you.  Just “going” won’t get you into heaven. You have to accept God’s son, Jesus as the Lord of your life and the one who paid the price for you sins, wrong doing. To my knowledge, God doesn’t take attendance.  You go to church to be with others who believe like you do.  To be encouraged, and to encourage others.  To develop friendships that help each other through life.  You know, the ups, as well as the downs. God’s word mentions how he will tell some, who even did great things in his name, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” You can go to church every time the doors are open, but unless it changes your heart and fills you with the love of God, then you are probably taking a seat that could be used by one who is serious, devoted about living for God, a true believer and follower. By someone who will let “love” rule in their life.

One can feel God where ever they are, if they know him, and have a relationship with him.  In a way, God got rid of the formal church when his son, Jesus died on the cross.  For in that moment, God ripped the veil from top to bottom ever inviting mankind into an intimate relationship with him, for the purification process was taken on by his son.

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching. Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)

The photo was taken inside a “Life Church”.  I love their attitude, position, and inventiveness.  In the meantime, go to church as much as you go to Walmart, and don’t forget “the bread”.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Hard of Hearing, or Hard Headed?

I’m still reading through the book of Job, in the Bible.  I think he is both, hard of hearing and hard headed.  He is not listening to what his friends are trying to say to him.  As well, he is hard headed enough to not realize how arrogant he is.  I’ve had a taste of that lately.  The arrogance, I mean.

You see God instructed me on how to handle a situation, and I would have sworn to you that I heard him.  But in the sad reality of things, I wasn’t applying it, and of course people got hurt.  Then I felt like a jerk, and I was acting like one.  I thought I was right though and in some things, I was, but how I chose to express my being right, was wrong.

I should have remembered the verse, Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” (MSG)

So I don’t want to be “hard of hearing” when it comes to receiving wisdom, understanding, and instructions from God.  And I really don’t want to be “hard headed” when it is time to apply those words from God.  I don’t want to be a jerk, and I don’t want to hurt anyone, so I find myself asking God to help me to; pause, think, and respond with one of the fruits of the Spirit, and I think that will do the job just fine.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Cost of Appearances

The eight year old girl had just visited her father in his downtown office.  The elevator stopped a floor below her father’s and a gentleman got on.  The young girl got scared.  By the time they reached the lobby she was in full tears and screamed as she ran out.  Those who were in the building lobby that day looked and saw the man standing in the elevator.  They imagined the worse, but the real horror was about to come.

Most likely the black gentleman didn’t do anything to the little girl, but those in lobby held an impromptu court hearing found the man guilty, and sentenced him to an immediate death.  But they didn’t stop there.  Word, their version, of what had taken place quickly spread, and the next thing everyone knew, Black people were being killed.

Today, as I write this post, it is the 100 year anniversary of the worst race riot in America.  Some call it, “The Tulsa Race Massacre”.  Even our own air force was brought in to bomb Black Wall Street and the surrounding area where most Black people lived in Tulsa.  I remember seeing, in one of my early history books, a photo of two flat train cars with bodies stacked high across it.  They took them out of town and buried them somewhere, most likely, in a mass grave.

I was born and raised in Tulsa.  I am proud to call it, my hometown, yet that day in my eighth grade history class, I bowed my head in shame.  Later, when I was in college, my history professor told us the event had been removed from the books, but he told us the above story anyway.

It does no one any good to try to hide the past.  If you do, you and or others can’t learn from it.  The saddest part of this story is how it begin.  That men looked at the skin of another and assumed the worse.  Most will say they aren’t a racist, but aren’t there times when you see someone, who perhaps looks different from you and you adjust your speech, your actions, or at the very least, your thoughts?  Racism, despite the individual generating it, is an ugly thing.  I think it makes God so sick to his stomach.

We were all made by God, and are descendants of Adam and Eve, so honestly, how can anyone be a racist toward their own family member?  And if we all had the love of God within us, there would be no room for racism.  To those who died 100 years ago today, I am so sorry.  It was wrong, and I will never forget.

“Above all continue to love one another fervently, for love throws a veil over a multitude of faults.” 1 Pt. 4:8 (WNT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Roll the Dice

The title of this blog post, “Roll the Dice” is a phrase that comes from gambling.  A similar phrase is, “Let the chips fall where they may.”  Both of these phrases were spoken to me today by a believer in God.  I shared with my friend, who said them, “I don’t like either phrase.”  He replied, “Why not?”

I know he meant well, but he was talking about a situation that he does have authority over, because God gave it to him.  You see, when you are walking in the will of God, and He places you in a position that He wants you to have, and you pray giving the situation over to God, to be God in, then it is not up to “chance”!

Things will not fall where they may, or be decided by the roll of dice, or by any half hazard means of chance, but will work out for good for those who love God. This brings glory to God. His word says so.

 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” Rom. 8:28 (NET)

This verse is well known, so why don’t those who know it, believe it?  And better yet, why don’t they live according to that knowledge?  It’s powerful!  Its life changing, and situation changing as well.

So the next time you are in a pickle, or dealing with a difficult situation, pray!  Give it to God!  Then walk with your head up, knowing, and trusting God has heard you and that it will work out just the way He wants it to in order to do a good and perfect work in the lives of all who are involved.

“Amen!”  Now that’s good preaching if I do say so myself.  Where’s the offering plate?  This message is worthy of an offering!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Graffiti

Graffiti Building – Tulsa
Gum Wall – Seattle

I was driving my wife, April around downtown Tulsa the other day.  It was her first tour of the big city.  We went under a bridge and as in most urban areas, there was graffiti painted on the sides.  There was also a couple of buildings with it as well.  One building’s graffiti has become a little famous, but it’s nothing compared to the “Gum Wall” in Seattle, Washington.

A couple of days later, while I was having a moment with God, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “What kind of graffiti have you allowed to be written on the walls of your heart?”  Ouch!

I began to think about the messages I see, hear, and the stuff that shows up on TV.  Those messages affect us more than we realize they do.  For example, we may start accepting the lifestyle as okay, or normal that some choose to live that God calls sin.  We will always love the individual, but never the sin in their life.  That’s God’s approach.  We might chose to stay quiet instead of calling it out for what it is, “destructive lifestyles”, or accepting Satan’s substitute for what God has for us.

I realize now, I need to wash the walls of my heart from time to time.  To get the, what some may call, “expressive freedom” removed and put things back to having only the words of God written there.

Proverbs 7:3, talks about writing God’s words upon the walls of your heart:

“…etch it on the chambers of your heart.”

We are also instructed to guard our hearts.  Why all this care about our hearts?  Because what is in our hearts is what we believe to be true, and that belief comes out of our mouths.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.

Be Like God

Most of her life she heard, “You’re so stupid.”  “You can’t do anything right.”  “You’ll never amount to anything.”  “Why can’t you get this?  It’s not hard.”  She heard messages that she wasn’t good enough and that she never would be.  One negative message after another, and the worst thing happened…she believed them.

Thirty some years later, after thinking that life was just okay, and it couldn’t get any better, because she was taught not to expect anything special, it happened.  She moved away from those she loved, and into the arms of man, who loved her, but more importantly, loved God.  After a while he recognized her insecurities, but he knew how to reverse the years of damage and pain done to her.

He begin being gentle with his deeds, and especially with his words.  He had to make sure he didn’t expect perfection out of every task, as he had been raised to.  He needed to find the capacity to let her do things her way, and then to compliment her on a job well done.  She needed to know he trusted her, and believed in her.  He had to speak love to her and to speak life. He would hide notes and things around the house for her to find that reinforced what he was verbally telling her.

Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.  (Prov. 18:21 MSG)

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.  (Prov. 15:4 MSG)

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.  (Col. 4:6 MSG)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.  (Eph. 4:29 MSG)

Over time, because he will be like God to her (and not “a god” over her) she will heal.  Her mind will be cleansed of all of those negative comments.  Each day, she will grow in confidence.  She will soon stand up straight and hold her head up high.  She will begin to believe that she is a child of the most high God and that He loves her, and she will start acting like she knows it.  She will seek out God’s plan and design for her life and purse it with strong conviction.  One day she will be God, or be like God to someone else who is currently walking where she once did.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.