Ready

Painting by: Chas Anderson

My grandmother had a painting in the hallway of her house that captivated my attention on more than one occasion. I would stand there and study the details of it, thinking, “Boy! That day is going to be something.” It portrayed the rapture. The moment when Jesus came back to earth to call his bride home. The painting showed people ascending into heaven from cars, an airplane, fields, and houses. The plane crashed because the pilots were both Christians. Some of the vehicles crashed too. It was as if the earth went chaotic in a moment. (The photo displayed is similar to the one my grandmother had.)

Since Jesus ascended into heaven, men have been looking for and anticipating his return. After all, He said he would. The Bible contains at least 100 scriptures concerning his return. There have been many books written about it and even some movies made. Countless sermons have been preached, encouraging people to watch, and pray, but most of all, be ready! I remember a word given in our church when I was about eight years old. The man said that Jesus’ return was so close it was as if He was already standing up. I got excited and put my shoes back on!

Matthew 24:36 – “But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.” (MSG)

1 Corinthians 15:52 – We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. (MSG)

Matthew 25:13 – “So stay alert. You have no idea when he might arrive.” (MSG)

Matthew 24:37-44 – “The Arrival of the Son of Man will take place in times like Noah’s. Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark. They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.

“The Son of Man’s Arrival will be like that: Two men will be working in the field—one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up. (MSG)

I look around and definitely see individuals preoccupied with life. They are more concerned with current politics with striving to be successful or famous. Trying so hard to earn more money or where their next meal may come from. They might even be more concerned with their relationship status. Satan loves this. He wants us to forget that Jesus Christ is coming back for us. He wants anything for us other than to be ready. It takes focus on our part. It takes keeping God first in our minds, hearts, and life.

In the days of Noah, very few believed that it would rain one day. It had never rained before, so why should they? Today, there are probably very few that believe Jesus will return for believers, for He has never returned previously, but we have been told that He is going to. We have a choice to either believe it and live accordingly or not.

I pray that you choose to believe me and, more importantly, believe God’s word and live your life ready to be caught up in the air with Jesus. If you don’t, you will definitely know the truth when the rapture occurs. There will be mass destruction and confusion everywhere around you. People will disappear right before your eyes. I, for one, have no desire to be here when that happens. I mark myself as “Ready!”

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

You Could be a Winner!

Photo by: Engin Akyurt

$100.00 to the first 50 people that “like” and “comment” on this post to show my appreciation to my readers!*

Do I have your attention? Did you think, even for a moment, this could be an easy way to get $100? Scams are everywhere lately. Most of the ones I get come as text messages requiring me to click on a link and render my payment method to fix my account. I got one this past week that said my October payment for a subscription couldn’t be processed. My heart leaped for a moment, and I almost clicked on the link.

Many scams are written with fear built-in or hope to hit it rich without working hard for it. They remind me of how satan talks to us. He will tell us perhaps a half-truth but not the whole truth. He will dangle something we desperately want in front of us and make it seem so easy to obtain. Like he said to Eve in the Garden of Eden, Then he lied to her by saying, “You will not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4) He even tried to tempt Jesus.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Mat. 4:1-11 (NIV)

The devil tried three separate times and ways to get Jesus to stumble. Some say he tempted him in the big three: the pride of life, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes. It’s important to note how Jesus overcame satan;

  1. Jesus knew the word of God.
  2. Jesus did not respond with his knowledge and reasoning but quoted scripture. Doing so is so powerful!
  3. Jesus resisted the devil, and he fled. (James 4:7)

Whether it’s a scam or the devil’s temptation, do not act out of fear or as a quick way to alleviate a desperate desire or need. Think about it, and check to see if it aligns with God’s word. That will require you to know what is written in the Bible, which will require you to read it. Remember this:

If it’s too good to be true, it usually is!

The tester wants you to pass. The tempter wants you to fail!

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (MEV)

*(This was only an example of this post meant to get your attention, and no money will actually be paid out. Sorry, but I do appreciate everyone who reads this post.)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

I Was Begging for God

Photo by: Timur Weber

I knew how life was supposed to be lived, but I struggled every day to meet that challenge. I failed to finish high school, failed at being a husband, and now, as a father. So I found myself, despite the weather, on the side of an off-ramp, begging for money.

I understood it was hard for passers-by to give. They didn’t know my story. I looked normal; therefore, they wondered why I didn’t have a job instead of sitting there. As if I liked doing it. They probably thought I was just lazy and didn’t know about the mental illness I struggled with, which made it difficult to concentrate. Employers expect so much, and I found it hard to remember what I should be doing—I needed help!

One bright and sunny Sunday morning, a couple waiting for a green light gave me a $10 bill. I remember thinking, “Oh wow, they’re generous.” The following Sunday, they did the same thing. Now they had my attention. Whether they knew or understood me, they reached out to help me. They gave me the ten dollars the third week and asked, “Hey, we’re on our way to church. Would you like to go with us? They have free snacks, good music, and you’ll hear a positive message from the word of God.” I replied, “Church people don’t want me in their building.” They quickly came back with, “Our church accepts everyone.” I thought, Why not? I could at least get some food and use the bathroom.

The people at this church were friendly, and they actually shook my hand. I used the bathroom, grabbed some snacks, and my hosts got some for me, also. We found our seats, and the service started. The music was loud, upbeat, and positive. I didn’t know the words, but I liked it. Then they took up the offering. But this church was different and announced that if you needed help, feel free to take any cash out of the bucket when it came by. I couldn’t believe what I had heard.

Then they showed a video of the senior pastor. He preached a message about love, God’s love, and how it was for anyone, even people like me. For the first time in my life, I felt hope. I responded to the pastor’s invitation to accept this loving God into my life. There were tears, but they were cleansing. After the service, my hosts had me meet the local branch pastor. I told him what I did, and he hugged me and welcomed me to the family of God. Then he paused, looked at me, and said the church had developed a new program to help people in my situation.

Now I have a job, working for the church, working for people that understand me and my struggles. I contacted my ex-wife, and she is happy for me. She is even considering allowing me to see my kids. I still see the couple who used to give me $10 but giving me the opportunity to hear a message from God was worth so much more than the money.

The above story flashed through my mind while sitting in church last Sunday. April and I had just given a man sitting on the side of an off-ramp $10. I suggested inviting him to church, and April wisely said, “Build up a relationship with him for a couple of weeks.” I’ve been praying for him and looking forward to the coming weeks. Who knows what can happen by meeting someone’s physical needs first? After doing so, they might be open to an invitation to come and hear about the saving grace of Jesus Christ. There are many ways to build the kingdom of God.

But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? Romans 10:14 (MSG)

“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)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

When It Matters

Figuring out life can be difficult at times, but as I have learned, it is even more challenging when your “money meter” displays, “LOW!” At least the “Fuel” light is not on, not yet anyway. When funds are abundant, it seems like you just do what needs to be done almost without considering the cost. The line between “want” and “need” gets dimmer. It’s easy, at times, to convince yourself that you “need” something that honestly is a “want.”

Whether you have a lot of money or not, it is always best to take your thoughts to the Lord. If He truly is the “Lord” over all things in your life, then decisions about how or where to spend should be guided by him. After all, those financial resources came from Him and are His.

The part of Him leading me I appreciate the most is in deciding what to buy, what brand, and what product. And at times, from where. I have found that if I feel uneasy about pulling the trigger on something, the best thing to do is wait.

“I am God, your God,
    who teaches you how to live right and well.
    I show you what to do, where to go. Isa. 48:17 (MSG)

Submit your plans unto the Lord. Trust Him to accept and hear your proposal and thoughts; what you have determined in your mind is good. It also is a good idea to talk about matters of life with your spouse. After all, they are to be your “helpmate.” And when they share their thoughts, be sure not to make fun of what they say. Their words and insights might just be what you need to hear; and who knows, it may very well be the words of the Lord speaking through them. Another source is with a trusted friend who you know walks with God. Finding a friend like that is like finding gold. Value them, express how much they mean to you, and appreciate them.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

God Did It

A mother wanted to take her children to a special event where they would learn, grow, be inspired, and empowered. She knew in her spirit it was the right thing to do, but her bank statement was telling her otherwise! She finally told them, “I’m sorry kids. Your father and I have done everything we can think of in order to get you all there, but we just can’t. But, if God really wants you there as well, then He will make a way.”

This is what God says,
    the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path through pounding waves, Isa. 43:16 (MSG)

Thirty minutes later the mother received an email inviting her and the children to the very event they wanted to attend…free of charge.

Yes, there will be times when God’s involvement in our lives is obvious, but there are other times when it is not. In the aftermath, of something good happening, if we were to sit and look back on how it happened, if we were to investigate it, like a crime scene, we just might see the hand of God. There could be a faint trace of his hand, his presence in our lives.

Recognizing that God made a way, when there seemed to be none, when He led us to employment that will meet our needs, or lead us to the right doctor who He can partner with to heal us. They say, “Seeing is believing”, and there is truth in those words, but when we believe “before” we see, it does something within us. It builds our faith, encourages, and helps us know we are loved by God. He will make a way, even when there seems to be none.

Look around your life. You might just see traces of God.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My First Christmas in America

by April Joy Brady (Mark’s wife)

This is my first Christmas in America.  My previous ones have been in my home country of the Philippines.  People’s attitudes here toward Christmas are a lot different than there.  It seems as if some of the people are forgetting the real reason for Christmas.  Some even go as far as to remove “Christ” from the word Christmas with “X-mas”.  It makes me wonder if they have removed Christ from their hearts as well.  I’m not trying to be judging, it would be difficult not to be that way growing up here in America, with constantly being bombarded with TV ads and popular culture.

This season here seems to be more about parties, gifts, and where to spend the holiday.  When in the Philippines, where resources don’t flow so freely, Christmas tends to be much simpler, and we are happy to get to see family and share a simple meal, and laugh.  There is a lot of laughter back home.  I imagine Jesus’s first Christmas was simple as well.  Mary and Joseph adoring their new born son, lying still in a feeding trough with some hay, and perhaps an animal’s covering over him.  A far cry from a beautiful wooden crib from Ashley Furniture with blankets from Macys!

I think I have been blessed to have my previous life and Christmas’ in the Philippines.  I hope in the years to come I do not stray too far from my roots, especially when it comes to the attitude of what Christmas really is, or supposed to be about.

I will enjoy the time spent with my husband and the gifts he has bought for me as well as the other gifts from friends and coworkers, but in my heart I will be in Bethlehem, humming, “Away in the Manger”.

Merry Christmas everyone.  May Christ fill your hearts with his love.

April

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

This is Crazy

My wife and I had been praying about something that could become a stream of income for us.  We would have to do some work first to make it happen, and that work would require spending some money.  And you know the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money.”

We wanted to do this, but was hesitant to spend the money, but a few weeks ago I suggested we start with step one.  I felt a prompting in my spirit that we should at least complete that one task.  Today, I’m glad we did.

After step one was under way, I started telling my wife I was getting a sense of urgency in my spirit to complete the project.  We reviewed the amount of money it would take and decided to “go for launch!

We didn’t act fast enough.  This past Monday we received an unexpected message from an acquaintance of mine that I have not spoken with in two years.  He asked me if I knew of anyone who had a particular item as he was trying to prepare for the arrival of his girlfriend, and I responded we were developing one.  His request had a due date, so needless to say, I have been working this past week day and night to get our project done.  The same project I was feeling the urgency in my spirit to complete two weeks ago.

Don’t be like me.  Don’t ignore, don’t put off those little promptings from God in your spirit.  He’s trying to lead you, guide you, and yes, even provide for you.  We knew this was of God, because we had only told two of our closest friends about what we were doing.  The other confidence we received knowing this was God working is this; his girlfriend is a Filipino, and if you have read past blogs you will recall that my wife is as well.  Now his girlfriend will have an immediate connection to help adjust to America.

God is so incredible as He is able to move and work in multiple individual’s lives at the same time, to accomplish his will.  You gotta love it.  I do.

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” JER. 29:11 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A New Chapter

America.  She changed today.  Maybe the reality is, she changed a long time ago from the innocent days I once knew, but this truth is obvious today.  I grew up in Oklahoma, in a middle class family that somehow, always seem to have enough and then some.  I watched as my parents made good decisions and choices who worked hard for what they wanted.  “The American Dream”.  I believed in this dream and I too sought it out.  I wanted to own my own house, well after paying 30 years of payments.  I desired a good job, a loving wife, 2.5 kids, one of each sex, and to be a happy family.

The truth is, it took me 35 years to buy the house that will be mine in 26 and 1/2 years.  I have two kids, one of each sex, who don’t talk to me, and, their mother divorced me after she made a huge mistake, but convinced everyone our marriage failed solely due to me.  As a result, my biological family doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, so you could say I don’t have the happy family I desired.  Many Christmas days have been spent filling the empty stocking with tears.

After years of checking the “Divorced” box on forms I met and then married a Filipino woman.  I thought perhaps now I would get the happy family I desired.  You know what?  There are cynical, greedy, lying family members in all cultures, but the woman I married is the exception to a few members of her own family.  I have written about it a few times; my wife lives out God’s definition of love.

After our wedding, I was with her for seven months in the Philippines, until I needed a medical procedure, so I left her there thinking immigration wouldn’t take that long and she would come to America on my heels.  There was some delay in the process, but as we were reaching the finish line Covid hit.  Another year without her, another moist Christmas day.  A lot of crying out to God, and asking, “Why?”  The big three set in: Discouragement, Disappointment and yes, even Depression.  As I crawled through those dark days way down, deep inside me, was a mustard seed of faith that was whispering, “God knows what He is doing.”  In full disclosure, my mind was asking, “Are you sure?”

January 7th, we received an email stating my wife has her long awaited interview with the U.S. embassy in Manila.  LIGHT pierced our darkness.  I wanted to wait to share this until she was actually here, but someone needs to read these words now.  We are hoping we will be together by Valentine’s Day.  What a time to reunite our love for each other and for our God who loves us beyond belief.

When my wife is in our home in Oklahoma a new chapter of our lives together will begin.  Unfortunately, she will never know the “America” I grew up in.  Today, those with money want more, and those who “think” they have power want total control.  I sense days may be coming that perhaps will not be comfortable.  Standing up for what is true, for what is right could prove to be difficult.  There will most likely be a separation of those who have a solid relationship with God from those who were pretending, because in the America I grew up in, it was popular to say you were a “Christian”, but not anymore.

Yes a new chapter will be starting soon in my life, but also a new chapter in the life of America.  Our country’s slogan, printed on our currency, may no longer be, “In God We Trust”. Sometimes I wonder who is really holding the pen, writing each chapter.  As for my life, I want God to, because whether I understand his ways or not, He does know what He is doing!

Isaiah 55:8-11(MSG)

8-11 “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.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Two Things that Make Me Cry

Yes, I still own a “Man Card”!  Stopping and asking for directions doesn’t make me any less of a man.  In fact, it demonstrates I don’t have an issue with pride.  So there!  LOL  Admitting I cry doesn’t make me any less of a man either.  So what are the two things that will almost guarantee I will reach for a tissue?

  1. When I begin thinking about God’s goodness, and blessings to me and my wife I get misty eyed.  Like the other day we received three unexpected checks in the mail.  They really helped us out, and before you ask me for a loan they went to pay off some debt.  They were nice checks.  When I opened the envelopes and saw them I sat down and cried.

    A few weeks ago I wrote about sowing into someone else’s financial needs.  I helped a friend work on his condo.  He offered to pay me and I wanted to accept the money, but God whispered, “No.  Sow into their need.”  They didn’t need to spend any more on the condo.

    God has established certain universal laws, and one of them is “sowing and reaping”.  If you sow, give time or money it doesn’t always come back to you in the same form you gave it, but it does come back.  But you have to be willing to give without expecting it to come back, which has to do with the attitude of your heart.

  2. The other thing that gets my eyes to leaking is sensing the presence of God.  When his Spirit comes over me and hovers, and I know I am in the company of God it over whelms me.  To think, the God of the universe wants to spend time with me.  I can’t see him, but I know He is there.  I can’t see the wind, but I know when it blows.  Lately, when this happens, I have been saying, “Come a little closer, stay a little longer.  I can’t get enough of you.”

Okay, in full disclosure those are the words to a new worship song I just discovered the other day.  “Just Like Heaven” by Brandon Lake.  When I hear this song on the radio it ushers me into an attitude of worship.  Expressing my love and admiration to God for who He is, for his holiness.  Worship, does a lot for us, even though we are giving it to God.

So yes, there are times I cry, but they are good tears not bad ones that flow out because of hurt, or pain.  Tears are a release of emotion, and God gave us that capability, and I am so grateful He did.  I can’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t cry.  I’m no expert in biology, but I have a feeling my emotion would come out somewhere, somehow, in some form.  I choose tears.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Have to do Something!

God sent ONE angel to defeat the entire Assyrian army.

Whenever we are in a rough spot, and our backs are up against the wall, there is something innate within that forces us to want to find our own way out.  We will do just about anything, and it seems the more desperate the situation the more radicle our action will be.  Most people seem to have a fight mentality when we are in a corner.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 32, we read that Jerusalem was threatened by the Assyrian army, a horrible group of men, who had no respect for mankind, and they had no fear of God.  This army would first send tablets into a town they were set on over taking.  These tablets showed detail pictures of how they were planning on torturing their captives in savage ways, which struck ultimate fear in their hearts.  The people of Jerusalem knew for sure life was all over.  There was only one thing they could do,

pray.

King Hezekiah, joined by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, responded by praying, calling up to heaven. God answered by sending an angel who wiped out everyone in the Assyrian camp, both warriors and officers. Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace, tail between his legs. When he went into the temple of his god, his own sons killed him. 2 Chr. 32:20-21 (MSG)

You pray.  You commit the situation to God and then you wait.  That’s right.  There are times when you have to trust God, like in Psalms 46:10a

“Be still, and know that I am God…”

It’s hard not to do anything.  My wife has been stuck in the Philippines for several months now.  She is done with the immigration process and only needs her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  It’s difficult to be separated for so long. It hurts!.  I have tried everything I could think of, but nothing has happened.  I surrendered it to God, I’m being still.  Another version of this verse says, “Stop striving…”  That is what I have had to do.

In 2 Chr. 32 above, it says they prayed, and God answered, and sent one angel who wiped out the entire army.  God may need to send more than one angel to deal with the U.S. government, (kidding) but I do know the answer to my prayer is on the way.

Whatever situation you may be facing, painful, dreadful, frightening, or whatever, pray.  Give it to God and then be still and watch him answer as He sees fit to do so.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.