The Power of Praise

Okay.  I’m going to go all Steven Furtick on ya now:
You think you are all ALONE, but God is right there with you!
You believe the lie that your MARRIAGE is over, but God says, “Commit it to me!
”You think your JOB is going nowhere, but God wants to show you why you are there!
You were promised a PALACE, but you are in a PIT, God says, “Its part of the journey!”

Yes, LIVING is hard, but God is greater!
Yes HEAVEN seems so far away, but it is closer than you think!
One way to overcome life is through the power of praise.  It works.  It lifts your spirit, it strengthens your faith.  Whether you simply praise God with just words, or if you add music.

From the song, “Praise Him”
Let praise be a weapon that conquers all anxiety
We sing your name in the dark and it changes everything
Let it rise, let praise arise.
We’ll watch the giants fall

Fear cannot survive when we praise You
The God of breakthrough’s on our side
Forever lift Him high
With all creation cry,
God we praise You

Oh, we praise You, oh

Let faith be the song that overcomes the raging sea
Let faith be the song that calms the storm inside of me
Let it rise, let praise arise

This is what living looks like
This is what heaven sounds like
We praise You, we praise You

Try praising God despite what you see, or hear in the natural.  Then witness the power that comes with it, or through it, for yourself.  You will be glad you did.

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.

The Yolk, The White, The Shell

A lot of people recognize God.  Some will acknowledge Jesus as God’s son.  Few though, it seems, mention the third member of the trinity, the Holy Spirit.  I am so thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.  For it was He who drew me to God in the first place.  It was He who convicted me of sin.  Though I was only 7 years old, I knew right from wrong, and my pastor preached with God’s authority, that being wrong was sin, and that sin lead to eternal death in hell.

I am thankful, for now I will not be lost forever in the pitch darkness of eternal damnation, alone, and with the feeling of falling forever.  For the pit of hell is bottomless.  Mankind needs two things to feel human, time, and gravity.  Time provides a schedule, a rhythm to life, and gravity helps us feel grounded.  In hell neither exist.

Many years ago, I spent a few hours in jail.  Shocked? Yeah, well, whatever. It happened. Anyway, I noticed there were no clocks, and I didn’t like not knowing what time it was.  The only way to know was by what food items they served us.  Pancakes; must be morning.  Bologna sandwich and chips; has to be afternoon.  Chicken; it’s got to be evening now.

The Holy Spirit also provides great comfort in the times when I don’t understand what is going on with life, or when my heart is breaking for one reason or another. He may not calm the storm, but He calms me down, and helps me know I will get through it.

More than leading me to Jesus, which accepting his work on the cross grants me access to the throne room of God, the Holy Spirit gives me power.  Like Jesus promised us in Acts 1:8. The power I need to speak, and minister to someone in need.  Honestly, many times I wouldn’t have a clue what to say, but I rely on the Holy Spirit.  I open my heart to be willing, and then I open my mouth and God’s words come out.  I know it is God, through the Holy Spirit, because I am usually just as amazed as the one I am speaking to at the wisdom, or love of the words spoken.

But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power. And you will be my messengers to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces—even to the remotest places on earth!”  Acts 1:8 (TPT)

Every person who believes in God should ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is a separate event from salvation and water baptism.  For the scriptures say that when Jesus came up out of the water, meaning after his baptism, then the Holy Spirit lit upon him.  It was the work of the Holy Spirit that empowered Jesus to endure the cross.  In his own human strength it was more than He could bear.

Just like there are three parts to an egg, the yolk, the white, and the shell, it is still only one egg.  So there is Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God, but there is still only one God.  The three are one, and I will be forever grateful for all three, and the work they have done in my one life. If you choose not to believe in the trinity of God, you may find yourself someday with egg on your face.

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.

I Want to Speak to the One in Charge

071120“I demand a new pair of jeans,” said the man holding a pair of Levis.

I had to ask, “What’s wrong with those?”

“Their flawed.  The fabric has come apart.  See?”  he replied.

I looked at the spot he was pointing to.  “Sir,” I responded, “Those are ripped.  You must have gotten them caught on something.”

“I did no such thing,” he insisted as he started stomping around displaying his anger.

I was about to enlighten this man that when denim rips, it does so in an “L” pattern, like the one on his blue jeans.  But before I could get the words out of my mouth I heard, “Mark, I’ll take it from here.”  The words were spoken by the store manager, Jim.

Jim looked at the jeans.  His fingers rubbed across the ripped area feeling the loose strings.  He then looked at the tag over the right back pocket taking in the waist size and the length.  He looked at the man square in the eyes, and said, “One moment.”  Jim walked over to where we kept the Levis and he retrieved a brand new pair.  When he returned to the sales counter he placed them in a shopping bag and handed them to the man.  He smiled at him and said, “Here you go sir.  Thank you for your business.”

I didn’t understand and started to ask Jim, “Why”, but Jim said to me, “Wait.”  After the man left the small clothing store, in the small town, Jim turned and said to me, “Sometimes it is better to give a customer what they want, even when you know they are lying.  You see, that man is satisfied.  He knows he made a mistake, but he didn’t want to pay for it.  He will return to do more shopping here.”  I stood there, letting the words sink in, and then Jim said, with an old, wrinkled smile on his face, “And besides, I can send those jeans back and get refunded.”  Jim was the man in charge, and Jim knew what could be done, and when.

Here’s the thing, all of us have made mistakes we don’t want to pay for.  Some even deny it.  God is the one in charge of everything.  He will run his finger over the rip in your life feeling the loose disconnected strings.  He will walk you over to a shelf where your new life sits.  He will smile and offer it to you.  You may be wondering how you can pay for it.  Will your good deeds be enough?  No, so how can you take it?

God will tell you how he gave his only son, Jesus to die on a cross and how his death pays for your new life.  Then he will encourage you to accept this free gift.  So if you are feeling lost, depressed, forgotten, or hopeless ask to speak to the one in charge.  Receive his free gift of salvation.  After doing so, I assure you, things will look up, and you will feel satisfied.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

In the Last Year

DSC_7954Yesterday, I celebrated being retired for one year.  I also had a birthday this past week.  In reflecting back upon both, it didn’t take long to see God’s goodness.  His mighty hand, his gentle kindness, his correction, his presence, but in all of it, his love!

I know his love has been there my whole life, but now, I am more sensitive to recognizing it, in my life, and in the life of others.  So I had to ask myself, “Why is that?  Why do I see it clearer now, and not as much before?”  I don’t want to come across as “spiritual”, or “more special” than anyone else, but in the last year I have desireed and strived, in all times and situations,  to be just like Jesus, who is, Love.

It’s like recognizing an Armani suit, which I wouldn’t know if it bit me.  You’re so familiar with the original, it stands out.  Oh, trust me.  It’s much easier to be me, but I have seen enough of what I can be with and around people.  Yuk!  Who wants more of that?  I don’t, and I’m so sure no one else does either.

So, what’s the plan for this next year?  Going deeper into the things of God.  Having the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and the spirit of counsel and might in my life.  I want to journey closer to the source of “Living waters”.  I want to constantly be in the presence of God, which is why I choose a picture of the arc of the covenant.  Until the moment Jesus died, on the cross, the arc is where God’s presence resided.  Now, I want His presence to reside in me.

And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (Isa 11:2 KJV+)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved