The Last One to Speak

Charlie 021920DAY 1  A man’s daughter was struck with a sudden severe illness that required her to be put on life support.  The man captioned this event “The Psalms 23 Experience”.  He felt his family, “walking through the valley of the shadow of death”, they feared no evil, because they knew God was with them.  He believed this in spite of all the negative reports they received, at the hospital, on day one.

We judge most things by what we hear and see.  We tend to believe these things because our flesh perceived them first, but what if there was climate change?  What if we created an environment that showed God our faith?  What would happen if we allowed our spirit to perceive God?  If we began to hear what God said about the situation we were in?

If you’re going to pray for rain, bring an umbrella.

The man, whose daughter was sick, spoke of setting up an environment that gave God an opportunity to do some of his best work.  They played Spirit Spa instrumental worship.  They spoke of healing while in the hospital room, but they first “asked” God for what they wanted him to do.

Asking God, is huge!

I know, and agree, in the moment, we often believe what we hear and see.  We too many times take the first words spoken in a situation as truth.  The only truth.  It’s okay to acknowledge truth, but appeal to the One who can make things more true.  It was true the man’s daughter was sick, but what was more true was the fact, God, was going to heal her.

DAY 17  The man’s daughter returned home with a clean bill of health.  God, had the final word.  God, was the last one, to speak.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Flight 449

Charlie 020520 (5)Every day, about 4:10 PM, I see a Southwest Airlines jet flying over my house, if I am outside at the time, and if the wind is blowing from the south.  I did some research and found the plane starts in Dallas, TX. as flight #21, flies to Houston, TX. and changes its flight number to #449.  It’s known as a “scheduled” flight.

Schedules are nice.  You can count on them, but life doesn’t follow a schedule.

There can be things you are standing at the gate waiting to arrive and they don’t arrive.  A contract, a bonus check, a meeting with someone you are hoping will lead to new ventures.  Disappointment, discouragement, and disconnection can set in.  “Now what?” you might be asking yourself, or “What am I going to do?”

Even when you are a believer in God, and you have heard all the sermons, and have seen all the Facebook post that tell you, “God’s got this”, or “All things work together for the good of those who love God”, in that moment, it doesn’t feel like it.

Faith in God is hard.  We are such tangible creatures.  We want to see, we want to hear, and we want to touch.  Doing so seems so comforting.  We even have phrases like, “I wouldn’t have believed it, if I hadn’t of seen it with my own eyes.”  It is so easy for us to have doubt, about our lives, our choices, decisions and yes, even about God.

Why is doubt easier to have than faith?

What doubt really does is rob you!  It steals from you joy.  The real issue though, is It diminishes the size of the miracle when God works it all out in your life in a way that is best for you.  Can’t you hear Thomas, the disciple, after reaching his hand inside the opening where the Roman soldier pierced Jesus on the cross, saying, “I knew it was him.  Yep, I believed Jesus when he told us he would rise again after being dead for three days.”  I don’t mean any disrespect to Thomas, but I picture him as Deputy Barney Fife from “The Andy Griffith Show”.  Charlie 020520

You see the truth is this; faith grows, becomes more real, when you have no idea how it’s going to work out, or even when, but you trust God anyway.  You place it in his hands and then force yourself not to take it back a few days later.

Just because at 4:10 PM, if I am outside and looking up, I don’t see flight 449 making its final decent into Tulsa International Airport, doesn’t mean it wasn’t scheduled to fly that day.  It simply means, the wind was blowing out of the north.

Perhaps in your life, the Spirit of God is blowing in a direction you are not aware of.  Trust anyway, because the love of God is always on schedule.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

As if You Were Single

Charlie 012920_5Have you ever wondered why you do things and it doesn’t go like you thought it would?  I mean you roll played it in your head so many times and not one of those times did it go like it did in real life.  What actually went down, you never ever imagined.  You’re hurt.  You’re angry at God.  You don’t understand how it wound up like this.  Let me tell you why it did.

When you said, “Yes” to Jesus’ invitation to accept him, and you asked him to forgive you of your sins, you became his bride.  When you are his bride, you come under his authority.  Not that he will “lord” over you, but protect you.  It’s as if he becomes an umbrella over you.

So when you make a decision and do something that is not part of God’s will for your life you are walking out from under Jesus’ protection.  You are acting again as if you were single.  Making your own decisions.  Doing your own thing.  It may seem right to you, but it’s not what God wants for you, or it is not his timing, or his way.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

 If you find yourself getting wet with the hurts of life, repent, apologize to God, and get back under the umbrella of protection.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Makes Me Hard to Love?

Charlie 012220Well this isn’t going to be fun, but I feel the need to write out a self-evaluation.  While reflecting on some recent events I was reminded of the following flaws in my personality:

  1. I expect others to do the right thing. When they don’t, I want to be the one to tell them they screwed up.  (In love of course!)
  2. I have no trouble pointing out the truth of situations, but I forget few want to hear it.
  3. I seek perfection in others, and though I try so hard, I overlook that I too come up short.
  4. I do to others what I am want them to do to me, but I have learned not everyone knows that rule.
  5. If I’m willing to listen to you, I expect you to listen to me.
  6. I tend to “nick pick”, because I think people should do everything the way I do it.

I could go on I’m sure, but this hurts.  Looking into a mirror, that sees deeper than the exterior, is hard to face.  When you see who you really are, you wonder, how can anyone love me?  Then, you might ask, how can God love me?

When God first made man, he was perfect.  But God refused to have robots obey commands to choose him, so he gave man “free will”.  It was the only way to see who would love him, because they wanted to.  God first loved us, even though that “free will” opens the door to imperfection, and makes us hard to love, he loves us anyway.  There is no means to measure, or weigh how much God loves us.  Love, is God’s core nature.

But just how does God do it?  Love us even though we are hard to love?

He looks at us through rose colored glasses.  The ones that were stained, by the blood of his son, Jesus’ when he died on a cross to forgive us of our sins.  I would be more lovable if I saw others as God does.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

April

081119 (10)

April Joy Cruz Brady

Say this next line in the voice of an announcer introducing a movie:

In a world, where it seems as if there is more hate than air…

It’s a fresh breath to meet someone that lives out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a which informs us what real love is.  The test, to see if you are love, is to insert your name everywhere it says “love”, and then to add the proper pronoun before the word, “Doesn’t”.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Although perfect for me, my wife, April is not perfect, but she comes as close as anyone I have ever met who can pass this test.  The only way to be real love is to be like God, because God is love.

To you April, with love.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“I’m Pregnant”

Charlie 25I love the Virgin Mary’s story.  She was so brave.  You see the simple truth is, she loved God more than she feared what others thought.  There’s a whole sermon right there.  Pass the offering plate and call it Sunday!

Mary, a virgin, was a pure vessel for the Son of God to be placed in.  And because she first loved God, she had no problem loving and taking care of his Son, Jesus.

Oh may I always be a clean vessel for the Son of God to take full time residence in.  May I too be able to announce, “I’m pregnant!”  If you have ever seen me you know I look like I’m 8 months pregnant, but I’m trying to work on that.  May I always care about his words, his way of life, and his promise to live forever, more than I am concerned about what man thinks.

In this blog, I write the words I feel God has placed in my heart to help you, inspire you, to grow in your relationship with him.  A friend of mine once said,

“I don’t need to read your blog, because I don’t have a relationship with God.”  I responded, “Sure you do.  It’s just not a good one!”

Whether you believe in God or not today, I pray wherever you are in life, you start to.  Because ya know what?  God believes in you.  He made you, he loves you, and he wants to have a conversation with you, about you.  He cares so much for you, he gave you his only Son, to die so that you may live.  That’s what Christmas is all about.  All the other stuff is just a way to celebrate God’s perfect love.

Today is Christmas.  Merry Christmas to all of my regular, and irregular readers.  I’ll let you decide which you are.  I love you all, and appreciate you so very much.  You’re in my prayers. I mainly pray your relationship with God will grow.  (laughing) May you too, become pregnant.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

To Know

Charlie 219To know unconditional love;
is to know God.
To know real forgiveness;
is to know Jesus.
To know perfect direction;
is to know the Holy Spirit.

To know pure laughter;
is to know true friends.
To know great joy;
is to know a child.
To know time;
is to know an elderly person.

To know gratitude;
is to feed the hungry.
To know security;
is to clothe the naked.
To know health;
is to visit the sick.

To know peace;
is to know contentment.
To know lasting hope;
is to know faith.
To know wisdom;
is to know the Word of God.

No Plan “B”

NoPlanB-01What if Mary had said, “No” to God when he asked her to have his Son?  After all, many have said, “No” to God perhaps out of fear, or not wanting to risk, or sacrifice anything.  Did He have a plan “B”?  Was there an understudy waiting in the wings for her big chance?

I heard a story of a man who grew up very different from the rest of his family.  You see, they all went to the same church, but the others, in his family, resisted when God tried to change them from the inside out.  They evidently, just wanted enough of Jesus to escape hell.  He wondered, and so did those who heard his story of the way his family treated him and others, how, or why he didn’t turn out like them.  His father passed away, and as he was walking through the now empty house, he felt God’s Spirit whisper to him, “While you were growing up in this house, I kept my hand tight around your heart, because I knew one day, you would give it to me.”

“So God, who knows the heart,…”
Acts 15:8 (NKJV)

God knew He didn’t need a plan “B”, because He knew Mary would agree to his will. God knew Mary’s heart belonged to him, so Christmas went off without a hitch, and the rest of God’s plan did as well.  What, or who have you given your heart to?

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

CSI

Charlie 89I used to drive fast.  I mean, really fast, or perhaps I should say, “stupidly fast!”  In the early eighties, in Massachusetts, I was driving my Chevette.  Okay, you can stop laughing now.  As I was going up a hill and into a sharp turn to my left I saw a car coming fast, straight for me in my lane.  It was going to be a head on collision and I said to myself, Oh this is going to hurt!  But right before the point of impact I shut my eyes hard, and screamed, “Oh God!”

My car kept moving around the bend in the road, but my body moved back into the seat and then forward.  I remember thinking, what?  When I looked in my rear view mirror, the car was so close behind me I couldn’t see the license plate.  Did the other car go through me?

If you could go back and examine the scenes of your life.  The ones that astounded you, surprised you, or perhaps hurt you the most.  You might be compelled to look for clues to answer those nagging, lingering questions like, “How did this happen?”

If you could dust the scene for finger prints to find out who all was involved, you know like a crime scene investigator, would it surprise you if you detected God’s fingerprints?

Not that He was the one who did the damage, but that He was there.  Most likely keeping you from being killed, or injured more severely.  Perhaps it was him who got you out of there or got you help in a timely manner.  How many times have you shared your story and have actually heard people respond something like, “Wow, God was definitely with you.”

I think we will all be surprised when we learn, how involved in our lives, God was.  Either he did it because he loves those who call him Father, or he did it hoping you would feel his love and involvement and choose to love him back.  Either way, he loved!

“The Lord your God is in your midst;
he is a warrior who can deliver.
He takes great delight in you;
he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NET Bible)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Knowing Jesus

Christmas 19cThere is a popular Christmas song, which I love, “Mary, Did You Know?”  A few years ago I turned the words around and wrote a blog post titled, “When did Mary Know?” (12/20/15)

Like how did she know he could turn water into wine before she asked him to?  When did she know he could heal the sick and set the captive free?  Or walk on water, and feed 5000 men?

I can picture Mary with Jesus on her lap talking, asking questions, and then Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet as he shared stories of the creation, and from the Old Testament.  I think she knew because she had spent a lot of time with God’s Son.  She knew him, but more importantly, she believed in him.

Imagine what you would ask Jesus to do if you really knew him.  Would you ask him to heal you, a friend or a family member?  What about heal your finances, or your broken relationships?  Would you ask for a better job, food, or a place to live of your own?  My point isn’t to get things from Jesus, but believing in him enough to ask.  Knowing that he could if that was best for you.

Sometimes it’s better to go through something than to be delivered from it.

It is good to spend time with Jesus no matter your circumstances.  This Christmas, I pray you find time to sit and just hang out with him.  Put on some Christmas music too.  After all, He is the reason for the season.

‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.’ Matthew 15:9 J.B. Phillips New Testament

Don’t just worship Jesus because it’s Christmas, and don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all, because it will be over before you know it.  And so will your life, and after that you’ll have lots of time to spend with Jesus, oh, if you accepted him when you were on earth.

Knowing Jesus intimately, is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and others all year long.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.