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 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.

Finding Direction

Believe it or not, after my divorce, when it came to meeting a woman to potentially marry, I used to ask God to send her to my door and have her say, “Hi.  I’m God’s woman for you.”  In turn, I would say, “Great.  Let me get my coat.”  I was living in the Chicago area back then and it is cold 9 months out of the year.  Guess what?  It never happened.  I didn’t like all of the effort it took to date after divorce, and I wasn’t real sure I even wanted to remarry, but one thing I did know, if God wanted to lead me that way He could have.

My approach was kind of like praying for money, but not going out and looking for a job.  I used to tell my concerned friends, “Hey, I’m not looking for a wife, but my eyes aren’t closed either.”

One sure way to receive direction from God is to be moving.  You can’t steer a car if it’s not rolling.  With that said, you don’t stop praying while you are in motion.  God can certainly open and close doors, or lead you to someone who knows someone who God can use to meet your need, or desire.

I know of a single woman who is looking for a mate.  She keeps doing it her way, which seems as if she takes the first man to message her, and she gets involved in another long distance relationship that eventually ends badly.  After a few days of hurt, and anger she’s back at it again.  The problem is this; her expiration date is approaching.  I get the sense she is not focusing on God first, and trusting him to lead her.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “No” to a man when you get a check in your spirit.  God will give her the desires of her heart when the right man comes along.  In the meantime, she can have intimacy with God.

It’s important to yield to the plans of God.

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)

For six years, before my retirement, I planned on buying an RV, travel America, and write.  That didn’t happen then, but I now see a chance where it may happen in the future.  My wife likes to add this phrase after making plans of her own, “If God permits.”  Not a bad way to live at all.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” 2 Cor. 5:7 (AMP)

It’s not easy walking with God, I get that, but it sure is exciting!

Whether you need direction for a spouse, a job, a place to live, what to say to someone who needs to hear from God, etc. choose to live in boldness.  Don’t sit in your living room and wait for the answers to come to you, oh, and don’t expect a billboard along the highway either, but get up, get out, and move.  Then trust the one who has the wheel of your life.  You’ll enjoy the destination that much better!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

If God…

c2gpic1If God healed me of one of my issues, there would be no reason to go to the doctor who is treating me for that issue.  The truth is though that doctor is searching for God.  Over the last two years I have developed a safe and trusted relationship with him as I listen to his thoughts, and opinions and he listens to mine.  If God healed me, who would be there to share the gospel with him?  Sure, God could send a new patient, but building that relationship takes time.  Also, would the next patient be open to share God?

If God provided all the money I would ever need, all at one time, would I continue to rely on him to meet my every need?  There was one time I was asking God for money to pay off a credit card and a small loan.  I sensed He asked me, “How much money do you need today?”  I thought about it and said, “Well, actually all the monthly bills have been paid and there is food in the kitchen and gas in the car.”  Then God said, “Then why are you asking me for money today?  I will provide as you have need.”

How you respond, when you need God to move in your life, is a benchmark of your trust in him.

If God showed you your spouse before it was time what do you think would happen?  I tend to think you would contact them and make a mess of things and not wind up together.  Why?  Because it wasn’t time.

If God told you about losing your job in advance, most would put matters in their own hands and go get a new job before it was time.  That sounds like good planning, but it robs you of the opportunity to act on your faith.  The Lord God almighty, might lead you to a better job making even more money than the job you found.

Yes, there are times when God acts on your behalf before you need it, or does tell you what is about to happen before it does, but most of the time He knows it is best to let these things happen to you and then see how you react to them.

Faith isn’t built in a time of need, but displayed.

God can do anything, at any time.  Knowing that is why we need to trust him and his timing.  God loves it when his child, who is walking through a very dark time in their life, reaches over and takes hold of his hand.  There’s no reason to say, “If God…”, but there is every reason to say, “God, I need you.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Just Life

Charlie 222I was facing several issues the other day.  To be honest, they overwhelmed me.  I cried out to God to ask why was this happening, and how am I going to pay for it all?  (My first ungodly belief (UGB) was thinking that I was going to pay for it all.  Everything my wife and I have comes from God, He pays for it all.)  I spoke to a couple of others about it, and they were encouraging, but it still consumed my thoughts.  I got mad, complained, and cried, to no avail, because I felt the same after each one of my flesh’s outburst.

THEN,

I got quiet.  I had asked God for enough money to get through this and upcoming consumers of money issues, but He whispered, “Have I not provided what you have need of today?”  “Yes, Lord.  You have,” I replied.  “Then what’s the problem?” He said.

My thoughts turned to the children of Israel, who were commanded of God to only take enough mana for what they needed that day, except on Saturday’s they collected what they would need for two days.  If they took more than they needed it would spoil.  (Exodus 16:4-26)

If God gave me more, than I needed for today,

would it spoil me?

“The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.”  Hebrews 11:1-2 The Message (MSG)

Faith can be difficult at times, but for a believer in God, it must remain in tack despite what our eyes see, despite the news, and despite the balance of our bank account.  After all, it’s just life.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.