Joy to the World

Tis the season to be jolly. You know the rest of that line from the song, but are you? Are you jolly? Do you have “joy”? It’s the happiest time of the year. At least, it’s supposed to be. There could be many people for countless reasons that are not “joyful” right now. Financial hard times, relationship issues, living in a war zone, dealing with losing a loved one, etc. So if you can raise your hand, it’s okay, no one is looking around, and say, “Yeah, I don’t have “joy” right now,” then what do you do?

If you can be counted as one lacking joy right now, you can turn to God. Doing so is more than a cliché.

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psa. 16:11 (MEV)

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.
Prov. 17:22 (MSG)

“This is what I want you to do: Ask the Father for whatever is in keeping with the things I’ve revealed to you. Ask in my name, according to my will, and he’ll most certainly give it to you. Your joy will be a river overflowing its banks!
John 16:23-24 (MSG)

God knows what joy in our hearts does for us. A lack of joy can lead to depression, which doesn’t help anyone. You can go to God and tell him why you don’t have joy. Then you can ask him to help you with your lack of happiness and even ask him to change your situation. Reading God’s word can help you find hope and joy. The book of Psalms is full of hope from the Lord.

If you are one walking around with an abundance of joy, look around and be willing to share your joy with someone else. One thing that helps others is when you do something for them that is unexpected, or something is done for someone else anonymously.

May you find joy in your life. Not just in this season but the whole year through. And remember, you can have Jesus’ joy as your own.

I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.
John 15:11 (NKJV)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

You Are the Same God

Photo by: SHVETS production

Yesterday at church, I was so encouraged by the lyrics to the following song, “Same God.” It was good to remember that despite what is happening in the world, in my country, or in my personal world, God is still God. He is not affected by current events or swayed by popular opinions. He is still the same God; if He did it before, then I know He can do it again for me, my country, and my world.

I’m calling on the God of Jacob
Whose love endures through generations
I know that You will keep Your covenant

I’m calling on the God of Moses
The one who opened up the ocean
I need You now to do the same thing for me
For me, for me

O God, my God, I need You
O God, my God, I need You now
How I need You now

O Rock, O Rock of ages
I’m standing on Your faithfulness
On Your faithfulness

I’m calling on the God of Mary
Whose favor rests upon the lowly
I know with You all things are possible

I’m calling on the God of David
Who made a shepherd boy courageous
I may not face Goliath
But I’ve got my own giants

You heard Your children then
You hear Your children now


You were providing then
You are providing now

You moved in power then
God, move in power now

You were a healer then
You are a healer now

You are the same God
You are the same God

You were a savior then
You are a savior now


You’re faithful God
Jesus, You’re the same
Yesterday, today, and forever

You freed the captives then
You’re freeing hearts right now

You touched the lepers then
I feel Your touch right now


Never changing
Oh, forever
We feel You now
You’re the same God

I’m calling on the Holy Spirit
Almighty River, come and fill me again
Come and fill me again

(Let that be your prayer)

Songwriters: Patrick Barrett, Christopher Joel Brown, Steven Furtick. For non-commercial use only.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

An Eternal Mistake

April’s mistake might change where a young woman spends eternity.

My wife, April, enjoys creating videos and posting them on her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxCVluI_lWrk-bwaie1QF7w

When we married, she was doing all the work to produce such a video using only her phone. I suggested we get her a laptop and better editing software to make this passion easier. We have slowly been investing in her hobby. Purchasing a wireless mic, a GoPro camera, and even a green screen background. Our dining room is now a mini studio.

After receiving her new laptop, powerful enough to run editing software, she did her research and picked one to purchase and download onto her PC. She thought she was selecting the option to have lifetime access to this software, but either in her excitement or it was kind of small, she neglected to see a box “pre-checked” that also included a monthly subscription.

I was looking at April’s checking account the other evening when I saw a charge I wasn’t expecting to see. I asked April about it; she didn’t know why it was there either. I logged into her editing software account and saw that she had a monthly subscription. Thinking this was a mistake or a scam, I felt we needed to call our bank. I was going to call after the Labor Day Holiday, but something inside me kept whispering, “Call now.”

While talking to the young woman in the bank’s Fraudulent Charges Department (say that three times), something came up about birthdays. She informed me that she would never celebrate another birthday. Honestly, I thought she didn’t even sound old enough to be 29 and, like many women, never want to turn 30 for reasons unbeknownst to me.

I inquired with curiosity as to why and it was then she told me that this past July, her only brother died the day before her birthday. I know! My heart sank, became heavy, and tears filled my eyes. What do you say after hearing something like that? Fortunately, the Holy Spirit knew what to say and started prompting me in my spirit as to the words she needed to hear.

She thought my calling was a coincidence, but I immediately corrected her and shared that it was God. He wanted her to know how much He loves her and her grieving family and that He knows exactly how she feels and that He cares. She seemed interested in checking out a recent sermon by my pastor online, and she seemed open to accepting God’s love which I pray will lead her to accept his son, Jesus. Once she does, she will then spend eternity in heaven.

April’s mistake may cost us financially, but it’s nothing compared to what Jesus paid so this young woman, you, and I can live forever in heaven. Thank you, God, for going out of your way to love us and to show just how much you love us.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.
Luke 19:10 (AMPC)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Living Light

Photo by: cottonbro

I have moved at least thirty-five times in my life. No, my father wasn’t in the military either. Thirty-one of those relocations took place after I was eighteen. No, I wasn’t in the military. Changing circumstances in life prompted most of the moves. So, needless to say, I know how to pack. And I am extremely good at it. Quick and organized. (I’m not soliciting for a job to help someone move!) I have lived in five different states. I think one of them was the state of “Confusion!”

Here is one of my secrets to packing: place the items you will need first in your new location into boxes with fluorescent duct tape on all four top right corners of the box. This would include towels, bathroom items, sheets, and electronics like the alarm clock. Once the truck is unloaded, set up the bed first and make it. Then when you are tired and ready to sleep, you can shower and go to bed because it is prepared for you. Those bright tape boxes are easy to find. That info is free. No need to send me any money for that professional moving advice!

I have been known to pack and unpack all my boxes in only 24 hours. One fundamental way to make that happen is to live light. No collectibles to speak of and only a few sentimental items, and the rest is pretty much only the things I need to get by in life. Things don’t weigh me down.

One can make an easy comparison between moving and living life. I have seen people so weighed down by issues, hurts, and disappointments in life that they are almost entirely paralyzed. They struggle to move through an entire day. Jesus didn’t want to see people like this, so He invites us to give the things in life that can be difficult to carry ourselves and to give them to him.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mat. 11:28-30 (MSG)

This isn’t simply a well-known verse but an invitation to allow Jesus to take what burdens us, and when we do seriously give them to him, then forget about them. I know it can be challenging because the pain is cut deep, and letting it go seems impossible, but Jesus offers to carry it for us because He doesn’t want to see us suffer. He knows what they did or said wasn’t right, fair, or just, but He still says, “Give it to me.” So take him up on his offer. Stop packing your pain in boxes and moving them from place to place. You will feel better and live life lighter with less of a load.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

What To Do

A whole lot is going on these days in our world, in America, and most likely in your private lives. It would be easy for one to look at others and focus on what they are saying or doing. One may be invading a country another maybe ignoring that a lot of Americans are financially struggling, and a lot of people are more concerned about their own selfish rights than the life of a child who can’t yet protest their opinion of wanting to live.

I can just see the devil having a hay day laughing while so many people are running around screaming trying to get their view heard. He is behind these evil things, unjust actions, and selfish rights.

Instead of joining those trying to be heard I implore you to keep your eyes on Jesus! To keep a good, strong, and tight connection to the vine. Continue to bear, produce much fruit, the fresh fruit of God.

Psalm 1   The Message

How well God must like you—
    you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats,
    you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings,
    you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls.

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

4-5 You’re not at all like the wicked,
    who are mere windblown dust—
Without defense in court,
    unfit company for innocent people.

God charts the road you take.
The road they take leads to nowhere.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

It’s Not Me, it’s You

Have you ever found yourself in one of those relationships where the other person does something that offends you, or hurts you? And then when you tried to share with them how it bothered you they act out and try to turn things around as if it was your fault. What the heck? Right? It can be extremely frustrating.

I was thinking about this scenario and feeling exasperated. I asked God about it as I do now when I am in need of wisdom and understanding. He is so faithful to provide an answer. He shared with me that when you speak “truth” it can convict. This can make them uncomfortable and they can get defensive. The other thing that may happen is they will distance themselves from you.

It may be they come up with excuses as to why they can’t get together anymore, or stop inviting you to events, or family gatherings. What makes it hard on you is they convince themselves and others that “you” are the problem, but it is NOT you, it’s them!

I know it hurts. It’s not right. It’s an injustice. So how do we handle it? As difficult as it is, we must still love them, and pray for them. Realize you are in good company! Jesus was falsely accused. Some of the people around him, religious leaders of that day, etc. were confronted with Truth. It convicted how they should be living. To push Jesus out of their lives they crucified him. I don’t think your family and friends will go to that extreme so don’t despair.

Keep in mind when Jesus wants to enter a person’s life, heart, He stands at the door and knocks. He waits for an invitation to enter. We cannot force someone to change. Continue to speak the truth in love, and hope that your loving actions will be used by the Holy Spirit to work into their hearts.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me. Rev. 3:20 (AMPC)

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Recovery

I have a friend who got severely injured at the end of last year. Satan most likely tried to take her out! Why? Because he attacks those who do what they see their heavenly Father do. Like he took out Jesus, who always said, “I only do as I see my Father in heaven do.” (John 5:19) Satan doesn’t need to bother, or attack those who are content just “going to church”!

I was praying for my friend’s recovery the other day, and the thought came to me, “Perhaps there are other types of recovery?”

  • The recovery of lost items.
  • The recovery of forgotten things.
  • The recovery of time to do the things that got laid aside in the past.
  • The recovery of an old friendship.

I’m sure there could be many more. Healing is a funny thing. I know, and believe God can heal instantly, but there are times He chooses not to. God always knows what He is doing, and what He wants to accomplish in our lives. That’s why trusting him is so important! Maybe He wants us to slow down, or perhaps know what it is to ultimately trust him on a minute by minute basis? To taste and see that He is God, and blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalms 34:8)

It would be a good practice to ask God what is his desire for us while we are “recovering”? You may just see a side of your loving, heavenly Father that you have never been able to before. You most likely still won’t like what has happened to you, but you will know when you get to the other side of it, you will be better off.

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.

Flakes of God

As this past Christmas was April’s first in America, she was just as excited when she heard we could have snow. Growing up in the Philippines it would be her first time to see it, feel it, and see its beauty as it covers the ground. As I witnessed her enthusiasm I thought of people who have heard about God, but have never seen him, or felt his presence.

I have known some people that seem to stay on the fringes of God. They might even hear that God is at a certain location doing marvelous signs and wonders, but despite their own need for him, they won’t go.  They might need a healing, a place to live, or a job, but it’s as if they would rather continue to struggle and hurt on their own then accept Him, and truly know what real living is all about.  They settle for only “flakes of God”. They have never sensed his presence or have experienced the peace of his Spirit, and they have no idea how beautiful it is when their sins have been covered as white as snow.

Come now and let’s deliberate over the next steps to take together.
Yahweh promises you over and over:
“Though your sins stain you like scarlet,
I will whiten them like bright, new-fallen snow!
Even though they are deep red like crimson,
they will be made white like wool!” Isaiah 1:18 (TPT)

I heard this morning there is a chance of snow later this week. Hopefully this next front coming through will generate some accumulation instead of only flakes, or flurries, and perhaps provide enough snow so April can learn how to make a snowman, or a snow angel. I’m forecasting there is a move of God coming soon. I sense He wants to make himself known.  He wants to heal, He wants to rule and reign in the life of those who love him. I pray for those who have not ever experienced God in a personal way will seek him, and know for themselves what it is like to have their sins forgiven, and be white as snow.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.