People

Photo by: Paweł L.

“Life would be easy if it wasn’t for all of the freaken people!” Anonymous

True confession: The older I get, the less I enjoy getting out. Not sure if that’s common or not. I enjoy getting to stay home. The main reason is because of self-serving, distracted drivers these days. And sometimes those same drivers are standing in line in front of me.

This last week, I encountered two such individuals. The first one was while I was in line at a discount store. I looked, and the lady in front of me had “two” carts full. I had “four” items. She even turned, looked at me, and I was holding my “four” items up high to make sure she could see them. I was expecting her to say, “Oh, go in front of me.” But she didn’t. So I proceeded to count my items out loud. “1, 2, 3, 4, items,” I said. Again she looked at me. Even the cashier seemed bewildered by the woman’s self-serving action. The woman proceeded to check out. “87 items,” the cashier noted. I was mad, but I held my tongue and then even helped the lady by putting her two carts up where they went. The woman seemed to be angry, evil, and perhaps oppressed by a demon.

 The second was, of all places, the post office. The mother seemed decent, at first, at least until her exhausted little girl started acting out. There were a lot of others there as well, and getting annoyed quickly! The man behind me left. I tried my best to ignore her behavior and the mother’s obnoxious parenting. You’ve witnessed this scene, I’m sure. “Now, (name of child), stop it. You’re going to get spanked. Stop hurting my face. It’s not nice. Yes, everyone is looking at you and your bad behavior. I’m going to leave you here.” The line was long and moving slowly. I was hoping the woman would leave and take her child home and put her to bed. Everybody was hoping!

Then I decided to pray over the child and the atmosphere. As I was praying, the little girl looked right at me, and with her dark eyes, she seemed to snarl at me. It was scary. I then whispered for the evil spirit to leave the little girl. He didn’t. I prayed for the environment to be flipped. From a place of distress to one of peace. It didn’t work. There were thoughts of going “postal.” Just kidding.

I realize now why my prayers didn’t work. I should have thought of it earlier because I am writing a book on the subject. I didn’t try to cast out the demon from the little girl out loud. Neither did I speak to the environment to change out loud. In my book, I write about how spiritual warfare has to be done out loud. Whenever Jesus encountered “people” who needed to be set free from anything, He spoke out loud. Yes, I know the others in the post office would have heard me, but shouldn’t they witness that we can have dominion over this world and the evil spirits that try to rule it?

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no weekend war that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. Eph. 6:12-17 (MSG)

The more familiar version says:

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 For this reason, take up the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand your ground on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand. Eph. 6:12-13 (NET)

I can’t avoid going out, and I can’t avoid people. I shouldn’t want to because it is people that need to hear the truth about God and how much He loves them. It’s people, and their daughters, that need to be set free from sin, bondage, and demonic influences. Love people as Jesus did. Have compassion on them and take your authority in the name of Jesus and do what Jesus would do. Just do it out loud!

Below is part of the story where Jesus cast out demons from a possed man. The whole story can be read in Mark 5:1-20.

1-5 They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones.

6-8 When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him—then howled in protest, “What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!” (Jesus had just commanded the tormenting evil spirit, “Out! Get out of the man!”)  (MSG)

Copyright © 2023 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

Here’s What You Do

What do you do when they correct you and then proceed to give you instructions on how to accomplish a particular task? Here is how God responded to Job:

“Do you presume to tell me what I’m doing wrong?
    Are you calling me a sinner so you can be a saint?
Do you have an arm like my arm?
    Can you shout in thunder the way I can?
Go ahead, show your stuff.
    Let’s see what you’re made of, what you can do.
Unleash your outrage.
    Target the arrogant and lay them flat.
Target the arrogant and bring them to their knees.
    Stop the wicked in their tracks—make mincemeat of them!
Dig a mass grave and dump them in it—
    faceless corpses in an unmarked grave.
I’ll gladly step aside and hand things over to you—
    you can surely save yourself with no help from me! Job 40:8-14 (MSG)

It seems as if God was sarcastic.  Knowing very well Job couldn’t do anything he asked him to do. As we humans are now on Earth, there is no way we can know everything! I was talking to a friend the other day about this same issue, and I mentioned how I had learned to say, “I’ll take that under advisement”.  He laughed and then shared what he says, which is, “That’s a great idea.  I’ll look into it.” Both responses sends the “know it all” away with a sense of pride and accomplishment. They probably feel as if they just helped another one!

God was sarcastic with Job, because He knew Job couldn’t do those things, or even knew how. We don’t know what a person knows, so perhaps what to do is simply listen, and execute our escape as soon as possible. That’s better than hurting the other person or debating and or arguing.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.

What I Really Want for Christmas

Getting ready for Christmas can be tiring!  There are so many things to do, places to go, and people to see.  It’s great to have the opportunity to see people.  In fact, receiving a Christmas card each year is the only time I get to hear from some people.

I just laughed, because it dawned on me that Christmas is the only time God gets to hear from some people too!  Okay, it’s actually not funny at all.  Someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas the other day.  They suggested we go share a meal at one of my favorite local restaurants, but what I really want for Christmas is to be with them on Christmas day.  I can’t go into details as to why I can’t be with them, because I don’t want to change the names in order protect the guilty.

After all, Christmas is really only about people, or should be.  You see it was God loving his people, and wanting to be with them so bad that He was willing to give his only son to become a sacrifice for us. For the things that “we”, not him have done wrong.  God wants to be with people.  He loves us so much, and hates it when we suffer, and struggle in life.  When we hurt, feel so alone and don’t know what to do, or where to turn. You see, we are all on God’s Christmas list.  Even those of us who accepted his Christmas gift to us a long time ago.  We drift away from him from time to time.

So what do you say?  Can you join me in giving God what He wants for Christmas?  Spend some time with him?  Talk to him?  Give him an opportunity to reply to your heart.  I know this, you will be glad you did.  It might even turn out to be the best Christmas Party you go to all season!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“Roger That”

Friends and family members of, Thomas Edward hear back from him within minutes of reaching out via a text message, or a phone call.  That is, when he is not performing his duties.  Thomas values people, and he values relationships as well.  Acknowledging someone, within a reasonable amount of time, is a special quality of a person with integrity.  Even if that response is something along the line of, “I’ll get back to you later.”

People want to know they have been heard.  They like to know their need, their bad news, or good news has been received, and the best way to affirm them is by acknowledging their voice.

The same seems to go when we pray to God, and when we don’t see some action we begin to question if He even heard us.  I assure you, He did.

16 But as for me, I will call upon the Lord to save me, and I know he will!
17 Every evening I will explain my need to him.
    Every morning I will move my soul toward him.
    Every waking hour I will worship only him,
    and he will hear and respond to my cry.  Psalms 55:16-17 (TPT)

There was one true story where Jesus’ friend Lazarus was very ill.  People came to Jesus and asked him to come heal him.  Jesus didn’t go immediately, but instead waited four more days.  When Jesus arrived his family told him it was too late, Lazarus was dead.  They knew and believed Jesus could do something while he was still alive, but now?

As difficult as it may have been on Jesus, he waited till Lazarus had died to show that the son of God had power even over death.  He did this so when He himself would come back from the dead it would be easier to believe.

So we may not know why, or understand why God doesn’t do what we need instantly, but rest assured, He does.

Oh!  Thomas Edward is no other than Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr.  Also known as, Tom Brady.  The seven time winning, Super Bowl quarterback, in the NFL.  Now if he has time to acknowledge others then what is your excuse?

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

So What?

Have you ever noticed how quick some people get upset, and at times over the littlest things?  It can seem silly at times, but don’t tell them that.  It could only build more frustration.

The funny thing about these individuals is this; they “choose” to get upset.  I learned that truth many years ago while attending marriage counseling with my first wife.  The counselor pointed out my wife can’t “make me mad” just like she can’t “make me hungry”.  That made sense.

Ignoring things in life that bother you can be a challenge, but not impossible.  One technique is to look at the overall situation and to ask yourself, “Does it really matter?”  Finding a way to say. “So what?” is important.

The alternative is flying off the handle.  Spouting words that can hurt, cut and potentially do permanent damage to the receiver of those “acts of rage” that could take years to overcome.

You can definitely pray and ask God to help you, and partner that with help from key identifiers.  Signals inside you that may indicate your tolerance level is rising to a boiling over point.  That can be the time to walk away quietly, or simply correct the frustration issue without commenting on it.

It is easier to change yourself, than to try to change another person.

The Bible says this about the importance of responding correctly:

Respond gently when you are confronted
    and you’ll defuse the rage of another.
    Responding with sharp, cutting words[a] will only make it worse.
    Don’t you know that being angry
    can ruin the testimony of even the wisest of men?
When wisdom speaks, understanding becomes attractive.
    But the words of the fool make their ignorance look laughable.
The eyes of the Lord are everywhere
    and he takes note of everything that happens.
    He watches over his lovers,
    and he also sees the wickedness of the wicked.
When you speak healing words,
    you offer others fruit from the tree of life.
    But unhealthy, negative words do nothing but crush their hopes.  Prov. 15:1-4

One thing to remember is; your outburst can ruin your witness of the love of God before others.  That’s a sobering thought.  People tend to remember a single outburst instead of the countless acts of love that came in the days before.  It’s not fair, but unfortunately true.  Choose to react with one of the fruits of the Spirit of God.  “Love, joy, peace, self-control, kindness, goodness, forbearance, and gentleness.  It’s a better way to go. Oh! And in the spirit of transparency, I needed this post probably more than anyone else!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Put it into Practice

Have you ever met a dreamer?  They come up with all of these great ideas, and sometimes they actually put those ideas on paper, but they never seem to carry them out.  Then there are those that move slower than a glacier.  They have to have all the “I”s dotted and the “T”s crossed before they are free to move on.

Neither kind of individual is particularly bad, just not very productive.  Kind of like working with a committee where all the members think their way is best.  Not much gets accomplished.

I have often thought, what would the earth look like if it had been designed by a committee?  And would God’s son, Jesus have ever made it to earth at all?

God was clear about what He wanted to do and how He wanted it done.  With creative, artistic, beauty.  With grandeur and microscopic details.  Every aspect functioning in pure balance with the rest of creation.  God was also clear about his son coming to save us from our sins:

“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)

The above was God’s mission statement and vision, and I would say, it is still working!

I saw this the other day in an email and I thought, that should be my mission statement and vision:

Practicing the presence of God.
Operating in the gifts of the Spirit.
Demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.
Drawing the people of God into the glory of God.

I hope I am as successful as God in living out the above declarations.  But instead of hanging them on a wall as a nice plaque I’ll have to put them into practice.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“To Hear Our Hours, Press 5”

In some countries, people are focused on working hard, succeeding, and reaching their goals.  Some of those individuals are followers of Christ.  I have seen where they are so focused on their “get er done lists” that they seem to fail in other areas, like community.  In other words, they are making great strides in life, in business, but falling short in doing life with others, friends, neighbors, and perhaps even family.

There is nothing wrong with success, especially if achieving greater finances allows one to be more generous, but if someone needs to talk, to share their current struggles, do they need to make an appointment?  Are those high achievers generous with their time? Or do people who have needs, need to come back during normal hours of operation?

Spending time with others is a gift;
be generous!

I don’t see this as the example Jesus set for us.  He was there, in the moment, for the people, and he still managed to achieve the goals his heavenly father set before him to accomplish.  Yes, there were moments when he set time aside to be in communication with God, his father, but if you read the gospel you will see when people sought him out, he responded.

There are a few verses in the Bible that share when Jesus saw the multitude, he was moved with “compassion”.  The word “compassion” means in the Greek “to do whatever it takes to alleviate the need.”

Compassion starts with seeing!

When he saw the vast crowds of people, Jesus’ heart was deeply moved with compassion, because they seemed weary and helpless, like wandering sheep without a shepherd.  Mat. 9:36 (TPT)

Jesus didn’t keep office hours.

If you make yourself available to people, the very people who live next door, at school, at work, and even those who attend church with you, then you are being like Jesus.  You are following his example, and therefore being a true Christian, which means Christ like, or little Christ one.  This should be our goal, and you know what, God will still help you reach your goals, when you avail yourself to others.

I challenge you to try it, because there is a whole world of lost people out there.  They are sick, they are oppressed, they are depressed, they need God, and you are right there next to them.  Please don’t say, “Well, spending time with them is not on my ‘To-Do-List’.”  Here’s the thing, those people are on God’s “To-Do-List”, because He loves them.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Sowing Into Their Need

I have walked with God for a very long time.  So when I begin to get a new download of revelation, wisdom, and understanding it surprised me a little.  Not that I know everything about God, not even close.  I know, it sounds silly to be so caught off guard, but this latest knowledge is so beautiful, hard to comprehend, and so Jesus.

I am beginning to learn about, and walk out the principal of sowing into someone else’s need(s) even though you have big needs of your own.  I had been praying about earning some extra money.  Currently paying the cost of two households in two different countries was never part of my retirement plan.  I budgeted enough to last 7 years, from my retirement, to when I could start drawing Social Security, and it was working, but God had other plans He didn’t let me in on.  With that said, since me getting married again was his idea, I am confident He will provide for his plans to be carried out.  But there is something about being human, we want to figure it out ourselves, and at times, do it ourselves.

So when my friend offered to pay me to help him with a construction project I was excited.  I thought, Oh cool.  This is the answer to my prayer of earning some extra money.  At least until God said, “No.”  He instructed me to sow into my friend’s needs.  Financial, social, and emotional.  So that is what I decided to do.  It’s exciting to witness God minister to someone and it’s humbling that He would do that through me.

I didn’t realize how bad off my friend was, but after spending several hours with him, working, laughing, but also talking I heard the voice of a man who was about to break.  Coming along side of someone and walking with them through a need in their life is powerful.  Just simply being there with them speaks volumes. My friend is doing better.

I was busy writing this post when my wife called.  We speak every day via Messenger, so I wasn’t surprised.  She was upset, and upon further discussion we recognized she would have the opportunity to sow into someone’s need there in the Philippines.  It’s a bigger need, which means it’s a bigger challenge, but not one that God can’t handle.

How do you sow into someone else’s need?

  1. Submit your own needs to God, and trust him.
  2. See the need of someone else.
  3. Decide to get your hands dirty by getting involved.
  4. Spend the amount of time needed, or be willing to provide the resources required to meet their need.
  5. Give all the glory to God

Do all this despite your own needs, but then watch what God begins to do in your own life.  I was talking to a friend this morning, sharing my past week when I realized all of the miracles God did in my life.  Thank you God for teaching my wife and I this valuable principle and then giving us the opportunity to walk it out.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Say His Name

082520A minister shared the story of his daughter, who was very young at the time, and in Africa, by herself.  There was a native mother having trouble birthing her child.  She was in great agony and screaming out.  The village, female, witch doctor had her candles burning, incents smoking, while she recited “hocus pocus” chants.  The young woman had enough and begged someone to go retrieve the American, who earlier had made her faith in God, known.  The minister told us his daughter went there and surveyed the situation.  She was barely 21 years old, and the only thing she could think of to do was sing the song, “In the Name of Jesus”.  The witch doctor had a fit, and stormed out, at which point peace entered, the woman’s pain subsided, and she delivered her baby.

There have been some very powerful, or influential people throughout history, and in current times.  Some have used their influence for good, while others, not so much.  Yet there is one, and only one who has affected the world like no one else.  Who, you might be asking?  Jesus Christ.

There is power in the name of Jesus!

One can be in the middle of any jam, any sickness, or any upsetting storm of life and call on the name of Jesus.  Jesus, showed up on the scene at the right time, and still does today.  It is important though, to believe, in the name of Jesus.  The lyrics to the song she sang:

In the name of Jesus,
We have the victory.
In the name of Jesus,
Satan will have to flee.
Tell me who can stand before us
when we call on this great name
JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, JESUS
We have the victory!

There are no hours limiting when you can call his name.  There are no “Terms or Conditions”.  No fine print to squint at before using his name.  No shoes, No shirt?  No problem, you can still call his name.  You see, in a world where everyone tries to protect themselves with “agreements” that only benefit them, calling upon the name of Jesus benefits you.  Jesus came along and shook things up.  He showed, by example, there is a better way to do things.  What is that way?  Love!

God gave us his son, because He loved!  Jesus chose to die on a cross for you, because He loved!  Jesus is right there ready to step in when you invite him to, by calling his name, because He still loves!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.