Circus Town

I have lived in Oklahoma for at least half my life, but I learned something new the other day. “Circus Town” Back when circuses were popular, and traveled from town to town 22 different ones wintered in Hugo, Oklahoma. Hugo, came to be known as “Circus Town”.

I know what you are saying, “Now Mark, how in the world are you going to share a kingdom principle out of this?” Watch me.

In this town, the circus people became one. They married, they had families, children, and yes, they even died there.  Others would be out on the road and when they died, they had asked to be buried in the “Circus Town” cemetery. From the three ring leaders, to the clowns, bearded ladies, and lion trainers they were family. They had a common interest in life, unity, and such as it was, they wanted to be buried together in their final resting place.  The town’s cemetery is filled with unique tomb stones to say the least! As pictured above the markers typically mentioned what the person did in the circus.

Believers, those who follow Jesus Christ also have common interest and expect to be together, not in their final resting place, but in eternity with Jesus.

So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. Phi. 2:2 (TPT)

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.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

He Speaks

 “Or, God might get their attention through pain…”  Job 33:19a (MSG)

God has a hierarchy to many things, and not to be old fashion but that applies to marriages as well.  Why?  And what does that mean?  In any type of union, marriage, business, ministry, etc. there has to be one individual who has the final say so.  BUT, that one individual is also the one who is accountable for the results of making those decisions, and the one they are accountable to, is God.

In a marriage situation when the man steps into his role of leadership, and as the one who is accountable, his spouse is then under an umbrella of protection, EVEN if she disagrees with her husband.  But, when the woman tries to fulfill the role of the man, people get hurt!  I have witnessed this first hand.

In the course of one year, I had to go through two very hurtful situations.  In both cases, the husbands allowed their spouses to cause great pain in my life, and they wouldn’t say anything to them about how wrong they were.  You see, those husbands have allowed their wives to fill their roll. “Head of Household.”

I wound up praying for the couples and asked God to deal with the men and to speak to them.  There’s no reason why people should continue getting hurt, and then I distanced myself from them.  Later that year, I found out that both of those men were down while they were recovering from knee replacement surgery.  I wondered if God allowed that to happen attempting to get them on their one good knee to pray and seek him concerning how things are going in their marriage, in their life.

In any marriage, business, union, and especially ministry, if God has given you the keys to authority, then don’t give anyone else those keys.  Who you give them to is not the one who will stand before God and give an account for the results, you will.

This isn’t about equal rights, equality, or glass ceilings, but about order, accountability, and individuals not getting hurt.

If your ministry, union, business, or marriage is “Out of Order” and isn’t working then go to God and ask Him to show you.  God will speak.  He probably has been for many years, but you haven’t been listening.  Each time you get hurt and there is not instant healing, perhaps its God trying to get your attention through pain.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Contentment Rules

His eyes take it all in.  He sees and hears things that he does not know what they are, but he is okay.  Why is he okay, even though he doesn’t understand?  Because he looks at his mother and father and observes how they are reacting to those things.  He remains calm, because they remain calm. He is content.

This child is one year old.  He is adorable.  He can be in the company of adults and yet his personality does not distract from what the adults are doing.  Of course he has needs, like hunger, but somehow he doesn’t have to tell his parents he is hungry, they know and they feed him.  He knows his every need will be met. He trusts them, so he doesn’t have to cry out to make his needs known.

As I witnessed this child, and the above thoughts went through my head, I started comparing my own contentment to this child’s.  It wasn’t long before I realized what the child was doing that made him an expert in contentment.

The child focused on his mother and father.

When we are in situations we do not know what is happening or why, we need to keep our focus on our heavenly Father.  We need to watch and see how He is reacting to the news, the weather, our boss, and our family members, to anything that personally affects us.  Is God running around like a chicken with its head cut off screaming, “Now what?” or is God remaining calm therefore we can remain calm?

The child didn’t have to cry out in order to get his “needs” met.

God knows what we have need of.  “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Mat.6:8 (NIV)   It’s about knowing God and trusting him.

True contentment brings peace.  This kind of contentment allows you to sleep, and experience true rest. A calmness that, at times, can’t be explained.  Others will be in amazed when they see it.  That is what it is like when contentment rules.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The Unexpected Sermon

“It’s okay.  It’s all in the past,” said my great niece as she waved her hands back and forth down low by her side.  She had gotten caught doing something that turned out okay, but would not had been sanctioned by either of her parents.

We laughed as my mother shared the story of the incident with my wife and me, but later in the week my wife quoted my great niece after doing something I did not appreciate.  Yes it’s true, I’m a recovering control freak, and I always argue that I like things done a certain way, because to me it seems like the fastest and easiest way to accomplish that task.  I know, there are many ways to doing some things, and there are times when someone would rather do it their way.

It may seem silly, but my four year old great niece preached with conviction a sermon I needed to hear, but more than that, live out!  I have spent the last several days practicing to let things go and not to mention that my wife may have done or said something that turned out okay, but not something I would have done.  And you know what?  Our marriage is better for it!

In those times when we mess up, do things that God would rather we hadn’t, and we go to him and ask for forgiveness, he always says, “Its okay.  You’re forgiven.  It’s now in the past.”

God makes everything come out right;
    he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
    opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
    not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
    nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
    nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
    so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
    he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
    God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
    keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
Men and women don’t live very long;
    like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
    leaving nothing to show they were here.
God’s love, though, is ever and always,
    eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
    as they follow his Covenant ways
    and remember to do whatever he said. (Psalms 103:6-18 MSG)

Forgiveness is not a license to go sin more, or even again, but it lifts the burden of guilt off of us, and allows us to go on, living life in peace.

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.

Peace of Mind

One doesn’t have to look around very far, or watch the news very long to see there is a lack of peace in our world.  And social media, these days, should come with a pain scale.

When I try to watch the news I find myself yelling at the so called “leaders” of our country.  You know, just because they control the media doesn’t mean they are speaking truth.  I don’t like how I feel when that happens, or when I witness unrest.

I don’t think I am alone when I say, what I desire most, right now, is peace.  Last year, 2020, kept us on edge.  “What’s going to happen?”  “What do I need to do?”  “How can I stay safe?”  “Where can I find toilet paper?” “How do I keep those I love healthy?”

When Jesus found himself in a storm, he simply said, “Peace be still.”  Is that all it takes?  Well, sort of.  It’s a start.  It’s declaring, I’m not going to get caught up in all of the unrest.  I don’t have to state my position or opinions on social media.  I can turn on the TV in time to get my weather update and then turn it off again, and make an effort to stay away from world news.

Jesus offered us peace by trusting in him.

“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” John 14:27 (TPT)

Instead, I can commit to fill my mind, my time, my world with things I enjoy.  With things that build up, instead of teardown.  With activities, words, relationships that inspire, or bring peace.  It’s my world after all.  I do have a say so, and so do you.  Take control of your own life, when and where you can.  You will find more peace that way, and feel better too.

Peace out!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Were That, but Now You Are This

“You’re such a nice person,” said the new co-worker.  The woman had been hurt by many men in the past and so naturally she was leery of any man who seemed, “nice” in the beginning of a new relationship.  Evidently, trusting a nice man and letting her guard down has put her in the position to get hurt in the past, but this guy was different.  His attitude seemed real, genuine.  She wondered how this could be.

After meeting Jesus Christ, and accepting who he is as God’s son, that encounter should change you.  It changed Saul, who was later named “Paul”.  You see after Saul’s salvation, or conversion he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and into him entered the fruit of the Spirit.

13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man [Saul] and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”

26-27 Back in Jerusalem he [Saul] tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him. They didn’t trust him one bit. Then Barnabas took him under his wing. He introduced him to the apostles and stood up for him, told them how Saul had seen and spoken to the Master on the Damascus Road and how in Damascus itself he had laid his life on the line with his bold preaching in Jesus’ name.

28-30 After that he was accepted as one of them, going in and out of Jerusalem with no questions asked, uninhibited as he preached in the Master’s name.  Acts 9:13-14, 26-30 (MSG)

So what changes a person so drastically?  It’s the fruit of the Spirit.  Each attribute of the Spirit replaces one(s) in the flesh:

Love replaces hate.

Joy replaces sadness, depression.

Peace replaces nervousness, anxiety, fears.

Longsuffering replaces quick tempers.  Gives time for understanding.

Gentleness replaces anger, rage.

Goodness replaces selfishness.

Faith replaces worry, and hopelessness.

Having the fruit of the Spirit within you provides life, real life, the way God intended it.  People will see the difference and be drawn to you, but what they are really being drawn to is the heart of God.  If you have not been filled with the Spirit of God then ask God to fill you with his Spirit.  Then allow it to perfect your walk with God, and affect the world, the people around you.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.