How do You Measure it?

Growing up, a lot of children’s parents mark their bedroom door jambs and date it as to how tall their child is. This is a way to measure their physical growth. A child’s maturity growth is measured by the fact that they can make sound decisions in life situations. But how does one measure spiritual growth? Paul gives us the answer:

“However, brothers and sisters, I could not talk to you as to spiritual people, but [only] as to worldly people [dominated by human nature], mere infants [in the new life] in Christ! I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. You are still worldly [controlled by ordinary impulses, the sinful capacity]. For as long as there is jealousy and strife and discord among you, are you not unspiritual, and are you not walking like ordinary men [unchanged by faith]?” 1 Cor. 3:1-3 (AMP)

In other words, one displays spiritual maturity in Christ Jesus when they react to world situations and relationships the way Jesus would. And that is with one or more of the fruits of the Spirit. You know them; love, joy, peace, kindness, longsuffering, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I like how Paul says, “unchanged by faith”. When you have known someone for a while who you know claims to be a Christian, a Christ-follower, and you have yet to see spiritual growth in them, then you know for sure that their faith in God has not changed them. Most likely, they are not reading their Bible, talking to God other than to make a request for something, and while in the church are probably making out their shopping list!

A true, mature, developed, and strong relationship with God will change us. Why? Because we see, feel, and experience his love and we begin to desire to imitate his character in our own lives. It’s all part of being made in his image.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Time Out? Or Out of Time?

One thing I learned from my father was that spending time with people was a gift and to be generous. I have noticed an alarming trend. When desiring to get together with others more often than not they will respond, “We just don’t have time.”

I feel as though people have “time” for what they want to spend it on. Kind of like money. They spend it on what is important to them at least in most situations. There are times when their life situations prevent having extra time or money.

Jesus was busy! He could easily be one to say, “I don’t have time” and be justified in saying it. Yet He spent time with people. He made time for them, and there were moments when they interrupted what He was planning on doing. (Matthew 14:14)

“As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.”
Luke 5:16 (MSG)

More importantly, Jesus spent time with his heavenly Father, God. Since he set the example of how often and how important it was to do so, then we should as well, especially in these current times, but if the truth was known every period people needed to spend time with God. We should be generous with that time as well.

Take time out and spend it with God before you run out of time.

Tell him what bothers you. Share with him your concerns, what scares you and what you are thankful for. Ask him for help with everything. Ask for guidance and direction. God loves you so much and cares about what you care about. He wants to spend time with you as well. You will walk away feeling recharged, encouraged, but most of all, loved.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Craig

I met Craig at a church called Redeeming Grace
Like he understood my “I don’t want to be here” face
I felt out of place and I smelled like beer
But he just shook my hand, said “I’m glad you’re here”
He said “we’ll all be judged”
But he was never judgemental
And even though my songs don’t belong in no hymnal,
He’d quote me my lyrics, slap me on the back,
Said “Man you’ve got a gift! How you write like that?”

I know, he sounds cool right?
Not your typical kid from Sunday School, right?
I still ain’t figured out church yet
But Craig, I get
Nah he can’t walk on water, turn the Napa Valley red
But he just might be tight with a man that did

Yeah he’s not the light of the world,
But I wish that mine was bright as his
Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is

You lose a record deal, all the perks fade fast
Dealership said, “We’re going to need to get that mini-van back”
So we were down on one car
And broke as I felt,
My wife and six kids with only five seat belts
I needed help but couldn’t admit, I was strong
Said, “Craig, it’s all good”
But he knew it all wasn’t
A “Hey man I’m praying for you” would’ve been sufficient but nah
He took roadside assistance to a
Whole other level, to sacrificial heights

Showed up at the ballpark after my son’s game one night
In two cars, with his wife Barb watching from the other
Said “What in the world are y’all doing here, brother?”
He just laughed inside that old Chrysler Town and Country van
With the keys, and a title, and a pen in his hand
Said “Man, all you got to do is sign and it’s yours”
I said “No, no way”
But he wouldn’t take “No” for an answer
Said “Please do,
Somebody did this for me once, just let me do this for you”
We argued about it for a little while
Then I teared up, and Craig smiled

I know, he sounds cool right?
Not your typical kid from Sunday School, right?
Nah he can’t walk on water, turn the Napa Valley red
But he just might be tight with a man that did
Yeah he’s not the light of the world,
But I wish that mine was bright as his
Yeah he just might be tight with a man that is

My pride was way too ashamed to be adequately grateful at the moment
But I signed the dotted line, and I drove the kids home
And when the cop pulled up beside us
At the light, they didn’t have to duck
Because thanks to Craig
They were all buckled up

“Craig” by songwriter: Walker Hayes.

Know Him

If you find yourself deciding to trust God, then you must also trust in all of his nature.  Going all classic Amplified Bible on ya; knowing, being confident, non-wavering, on the very issue that God runs the universe and nothing happens that He doesn’t make or at the very least, allow!

Who could confront me and get by with it?
    I’m in charge of all this—I run this universe!

Job 41:11 (MSG)

One who is trust worthy demonstrates certain qualities. They are:

Integrity, Sincerity, Reliability, Consistency, Commitment, Competent

The list above are not qualities of God, but part of his very nature! This is just simply who He is! When you get to know him, by talking to him in prayer, and reading his word, the Holy Bible, his nature is revealed to you. Just as important is knowing that God doesn’t ever change who He is due to what is happening around us, but forever the same.

For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.

Heb. 13:8 (MSG)

Keep in mind, Jesus repeated often, in the gospels, that he does what He sees his heavenly Father do, therefore we can know that God doesn’t change either! Spending time with someone is the best way to get to KNOW THEM. So I challenge to do just that.  Spend time with God, and perhaps his nature will rub off on you. Umm, not such a bad idea.

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”!

“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.

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.

Let it Flow

We, well Americans anyway, like to move, and move fast.  We hurry home, to the store, to work and even to church.  We have drive-thrus to make our trips even faster.  We believe we have too much to do, so we have to go at a frantic pace.  But what if God had something He wanted to get done?  And what if his plan included you?  Would you proceed with the same fervency?  Or would you dig your heels in and say, “Let me pray about it.”

There is nothing wrong with discerning God’s perfect will and timing.  And that is probably a wise thing to do before launching a new church program.  Did we ever see Jesus form a committee to discern the will of God?  No.  Did we ever see him say, “Wait, let me go pray about that before I speak to your disease.”

My point is this; Jesus, who was filled with the Spirit of God, flowed with his heavenly Father.  He didn’t have to stop and pray, or set aside a three day fast first, he just knew already the will of the Father.  He also operated in the power of the Holy Spirit.  For instance, when Jesus encountered the woman at the well, he was operating in the gift of the Spirit of knowledge.  Jesus knew she had many previous husbands and in fact the guy she was currently with was not her husband.

No one has to go and get ceremonially clean anymore before entering the Holy of Holies, the presence of God.  You can walk in his presence and actually live in it.  If you remain in that atmosphere all the time you just know.  You know things.  You can have wisdom and understanding of people and of issues all around you.

It’s important to be filled with the Holy Spirit:

The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” Mat. 3:16 (MSG)

Understand the Holy Spirit gives you power to minister:

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. Acts 1:8 (AMPC)

The veil that once separated from the presence of God has been torn in two by God:

At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. Mat. 27:51 (MSG)

While flowing in the Spirit you will do great things for the kingdom of God:

I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father! John 14:12 (TPT)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Angels in the Audience?

Have you thought about where two thirds of the angels were that didn’t challenge God like Satan and one third of the angels did?  Did they encircle the thrown of God and draw their swords?  Were they ready to fight to the death to protect the realm God had setup?  Did God stand up and say, “Its okay guys.  I’ve got this.”  Or did they know the awesome power of God and simply set back in the grandstand, with popcorn, and say to each other, “Oh this is going to be good.”

I think about stuff like the above.  I know, there are more important things to think about, but it intrigues me.  As well as thinking about what is their day like?  Are they laying around on clouds and watching us?  Or are they there, by our side, waiting for us to ask God for help, knowing He can dispatch them in a moment’s notice to do of his good pleasure in our lives.

Angels are definitely real.  They must be big and overwhelming, because typically the first words out of their mouth, when appearing to a human, are this, “Fear not!”  Not sure I want to see one, but I totally want them active in my life.  God dispatches them to minister to us.  To deliver healing, hope, encouragement.  They help fight our battles especially when that battle takes place in the spiritual realm.  The one that is very real, but unseen.

Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.  EPH. 6:12 (TPT)

So just as the devil and demons (fallen angels) are real, so are God’s angels, and their not fat, weak little cherubs that have been painted over the centuries, but instead, they are messengers, and warriors ready to fight.

7-8 “I, Daniel, was the only one to see this. The men who were with me, although they didn’t see it, were overcome with fear and ran off and hid, fearing the worst. Left alone after the appearance, abandoned by my friends, I went weak in the knees, the blood drained from my face.

9-10 “I heard his voice. At the sound of it I fainted, fell flat on the ground, face in the dirt. A hand touched me and pulled me to my hands and knees.

11 “‘Daniel,’ he said, ‘man of quality, listen carefully to my message. And get up on your feet. Stand at attention. I’ve been sent to bring you news.’

“When he had said this, I stood up, but I was still shaking.

12-14 “‘Relax, Daniel,’ he continued, ‘don’t be afraid. From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And now I’m here to help you understand what will eventually happen to your people. The vision has to do with what’s ahead.’  DAN. 10:7-14 (MSG)

I took a class titled, “Seeing Angels”, based on the book by Joshua Mills.  It was a good class, and a great book.  I learned there is a hierarchy of angels, and they have different jobs, or assignments.  I begin to find it encouraging, and exciting to work with angels.  To be watchful of their presence, and activity around me.  Yes they are there, but they aren’t simply in the audience, but at hand, ready to go.

I encourage you to learn about them if you never have.  They are one more resource we have in defeating the enemy, the devil, and advancing God’s kingdom.

Copyright © 2021 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.