Hemmed In

Your back is up against the wall.  You have found yourself in a corner, or down an ally with no apparent way out.  Your mind is limited on how to resolve your situation.  You cannot see any reasonable way out.  Your resources are gone.  Your bank account, savings, or 401 has been depleted.

Now what?

Such was the story of a woman in the Bible.  She is one of my favorite heroes, for she was a woman of great faith who despite what she saw with her natural eyes she believed, “My situation doesn’t have to be this way.”  She knew when to tie a knot and hang on.  She was hemmed in, her back was up against the wall.

Yes, I’m talking about the woman with the issue of blood.  She suffered from a physical aliment that lasted for 12 whole years.  She spent every dime she had visiting multiple doctors trying to find a cure.  What’s even worse, those who knew her, called her, “Unclean”.  I’m sure they assumed God was punishing her for some sin in her life.  You think the thought, “I want to die!” never entered her mine?  Or, how many times did she question God, “Why?  Why God is this happening to me?”

People, who haven’t earned the right to put on a robe,
judge anyway.

What are you facing?  What challenges are you dealing with?  Can you identify with this woman?  I too am facing a situation today as I write these words that I honestly cannot see how the situation is going to end.  My emotions got on a roller coaster today, and I did not enjoy the ride at all.  Then I saw one of my friends, Jeff Lossau, posted a new blog. (https://jefflossau.com/)  As I read God’s words, from Psalms 34, I cried.

Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
Your faces will glisten with glory.
You’ll never wear that shame-face again.
When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,
I cried out to the Lord and he heard me,
bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.
The angel of the Lord stooped down to listen as I prayed,
encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.
He will do this for everyone who fears God.
Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.
Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives
to all who turn to hide themselves in him.
Worship in awe and wonder, all you who’ve been made holy!
For all who fear him will feast with plenty.
10 Even the strong and the wealthy grow weak and hungry,
but those who passionately pursue the Lord
will never lack any good thing.
11 Come, children of God, and listen to me.
I’ll share the lesson I’ve learned of fearing the Lord.
12–13 Do you want to live a long, good life,
enjoying the beauty that fills each day?
Then never speak a lie or allow wicked words
to come from your mouth.
14 Keep turning your back on every sin,
and make “peace” your life motto.
Practice being at peace with everyone.
15 The Lord sees all we do;
he watches over his friends day and night.
His godly ones receive the answers they seek
whenever they cry out to him.
16 But the Lord has made up his mind to oppose evildoers
and to wipe out even the memory of them
from the face of the earth.
17 Yet when holy lovers of God cry out
to him with all their hearts,
the Lord will hear them and come to rescue them
from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain,
and he is always ready to restore the repentant one.
19 Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones,
the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated
by what they face.
20 God will be your bodyguard to protect you
when trouble is near.
Not one bone will be broken.
21 But the wicked commit slow suicide.
For they hate and persecute the lovers of God.
Make no mistake about it,
God will hold them guilty and punish them;
they will pay the penalty!
22 But the Lord has paid for the freedom of his servants,
and he will freely pardon those who love him.
He will declare them free and innocent
when they turn to hide themselves in him. (from, The Passion Translation)

The woman with the issue of blood risked everything, and went into a crowd. She pushed her way through it until she was where Jesus would pass by.  She even violated her society’s rules, because she knew with what little faith she had left, if she could just touch the hem of his garment she would be healed.  She no doubt had heard the testimonies of his healing power.  She did, He passed by, and she bowed to touch the hem of his garment, and she was healed instantly.  In a single moment, that she never could have foreseen, her issue went away, and so can yours! (Mark 5:25-34)

THEN, you can proclaim the first part of Psalms 34:

Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me!
My lips are full of perpetual praise.
I’m boasting of you and all your works,
so let all who are discouraged take heart.
Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together.
Let’s make him famous!
Let’s make his name glorious to all.

The woman made God famous, and I’m willing to endure what my wife and I are going through, for someone else, so I can make God famous.

How about you?

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

The End is Here

If you are reading this, in a few days you will be able to say, “I survived 2020.”  You might even be able to say that you beat Covid.  My friend in Chicago did.  I give the glory to God for that one, because he got close to the edge, but God escorted him back to give him another opportunity to accept him and his love.  I also know of a few people who didn’t.  Others have lost jobs, while some have lost their freedom to visit family, or attend a church service in person.

Yes, it’s been an especially tough year, but as I opened the mail today, and read what a friend went through in the two previous years. It was in that moment, I was reminded;

any year can be a difficult year!

That truth is a result of sin, brought into the world by the original sinners, Adam and Eve.  So even today, mankind is born into sin.  Therefore, God sent us a Savior to rescue us from ourselves.  If our greatest need had been education He would have given us a teacher.  If our greatest need would have been money then God would have given us a financial wizard.  But God, who loves us so much, and wants nothing more than to commune with us daily, gave us his son, his only son.

I have noticed the Holy Spirit has led me all year to write about God’s love, God’s son, and the free gift of salvation.  That tells me that He, God, wants to be reunited with everyone, before the end of the earth comes as we know it.

The Bible is true, and as the last book in it, Revelation, tells us in detail what is about to happen.  We are on the very threshold of the days, and events mentioned in the book of Revelation, coming true.  Please don’t dismiss God calling you home.  Don’t let another year go by without acting on his call to come into the family of God.  Life may get even harder than it was in 2020, and I tell you this, the only way I survived this current year was by doing life with God.  Drawing even closer to him like a child afraid of people they just met.

Please, I beseech you, accept Jesus into your life.  You will not die regretting it, but live forever rejoicing you did.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Hunt for Red October

“Give me one ping, and one ping only please.”  A line from the movie, “Hunt for Red October”, I like to say in my best, which isn’t that good, Sean Connery voice.  I have always been intrigued by submarines, and Red October is a large, Russian, ballistic missile loaded one.  It fascinates me how they knew where they were before the use of a computerized guidance systems.

Some followers of Jesus Christ could be called, “Submarine Christians”.  By that, I mean they stay undetected as they move about when it comes to their faith in God.  They might raise their periscope, every once in a while and take a look around to see if it is safe to surface.  They have their personal reasons for not being detected, most likely out of some degree of fear.  In the movie, “Red October”, the enemy on paper turned out to be their ally, and helped them achieve their goal.

God, through his word, encourages us not to hide our faith.  In fact, there are several verses that direct us to shine bright. Here is one of them:

“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? 15 And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light.” Mat. 5:14-15 (TPT)

People who are far from God need to see him, they need to hear him.  They need to find him, in us.  You never know where hurting, or lost people are unless you look them in the face and listen to the words they say.  People who need God do give clues, if you are paying attention, if you are hunting.

Instead of computers guiding us, we can be guided by the Holy Spirit.  Led of God to where the sick need healing, the oppressed need to be set free.  God’s word equips us with spiritual weapons to take out the enemy, the devil.

The ping, Sean Connery asked for, verified his distance from his ally.  By coming to the surface, finding those who are with us, we can work together to complete God’s mission to save the whole world.

“That the whole world might be saved…”
John 3:17

Whether people realize it, or not, they are hunting for God.  The spirit man inside each of them is striving to be reunited with God’s spirit.  Let’s be out there helping them connect their heart to the heart of God.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

I Need the Rainbow

080212TB 228This year, 2020, has proven to be one big storm that won’t stop.  It has harmed so many people, in so many ways.  Interview them, and you would hear different versions of the same story, “Hurt”.  Whether it’s a lost job, drowning in debt, the death of a loved one due to Covid, keeping family and friends from gathering as they once did, or new challenges no one saw coming.  When will it end?

Isaiah 61:3  The Passion Translation

to strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful bouquet in the place of ashes,
    the oil of bliss instead of tears,
    and the mantle of joyous praise
    instead of the spirit of heaviness.
    Because of this, they will be known as
    Mighty Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by Yahweh as a living display of his glory.

You see, the only way to get through the storm, to silence the thunder, to calm fear when lightning flashes, is to look up, see God, and put on the mantle of joyous praise.  Praise him with full throat.  A friend, who lives in Taiwan, said he was singing praises to God while riding his scooter the other day.  Not caring who heard him, but unless they knew English, they probably didn’t even know what he was saying anyway.

The last few blogs have had this theme, of looking only at God, so I know this is the message of heaven to all for this time, but especially to those who love God.  The storm will end and when it does people will come out to survey the damage, and even if they see what harm has come upon you, but then look at your face they will see peace, love, God.  They may ask, “How can you still love God?  How is it you can still smile?”  Your answer will be, “I’m a tree planted by Yahweh as a living display of His glory!”

The storm will end, and when it does, I hope you are still standing, and still looking up, because only then will you see the rainbow.  The symbol from God, signaling, the storm is over.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Now What?

Charlie 011520 1You finally drop off to sleep, and when you wake up the next morning you have a few seconds of peace before the pain of your current life situation comes crashing back into your mind like a tsunami.  You lay there and say to yourself, “Oh yeah”.  You force yourself to get out of bed, but if it wasn’t for having to go to the bathroom you would more likely pull the covers over your head and try to go back to sleep.

If this is you, what do you do?  You may feel your only options are; runaway, become a hermit, seek revenge on those that have hurt you, drown your sorrow in alcohol, over eat, pop pills, or even worse bring physical harm to yourself.  For those who have a relationship with God, the only thing you can do is lean into him even more.  Anything else is of the flesh, and it will not ease the pain like God can.  It may take all you have left inside you to even ask him to help you trust him more, but He will.  If you don’t have a relationship with God, now is the perfect time to ask for him to forgive you and come into your life.

The words of old hymns can be comforting, reminders of God’s reality, which is more true than our own.  Read the words of the song below.  Let the melodic words soak into your soul.  Be encouraged with the truth of knowing that this too will pass.  May God bless you, and comfort you.  Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  He will never leave you, nor forsake you.

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Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Jesus Wept

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“Jesus Wept” statue at the site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK. 4-19-1995

As a child growing up in church, the title of this post, John 11:35, was my favorite verse to quote.  I think the reason is obvious.  Saying it with accuracy would help earn me a candy bar, or something.  But these days, it has a whole new meaning.

These days, I know why Jesus wept.  I was taught it was because his good friend Lazarus had died, but I don’t believe that anymore, for Jesus already knew he was going to raise him from the dead.  Verse 4; When Jesus heard this, he said, “This sickness will not lead to death, but to God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (NET)

Jesus wept because the people, and his friends, who had lost their loved one were hurting.  My point to telling you this is Jesus hurts when you are hurting too, even today.  Jesus sees you, knows your name and knows what you are going through now and will go through in the future.

Verse 32 Now when Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. (NET)

When you are hurting, distressed, be confident that Jesus knows, he cares, and he can’t wait for you to invite him to do something about it.  It’s true, he holds the whole world in his hands, but he’s holding you as well.  Now rest in that knowledge.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

People Live Their Belief!

my lifeLast week I wrote about helping a young man.  The focus should not be on the things I bought to help him for a few days, but on the words I shared with him, that if accepted, and acted upon will last him for eternity.

I had a captive audience.  He wasn’t about to jump out of a moving car, at least without the bags of food in the back seat.  I told him this: “I don’t like helping people I don’t know, but because of the love that God has shown me, I can’t help but share that love with others.  I am only helping you because of God’s love.  God loves you Justice.  He orchestrated us connecting to show you how much He loves you.”  I shared with him where the church I go to is, and there he can learn more about this love of God.

Then I went on to say, “Aren’t you tired of this life you are living?  Is the way you are living really working out for you?  Aren’t you tired of asking people for help?  You need a job in order to properly provide for those children, and your household.  You need God, and his help, his power in your life, his guidance to direct you to that job you need.”

He said he read the Bible, and to that I said, “Then act like it!”  I know.  A little direct and ruff, but the word of God does instruct us to “compel” them to come in.  The Message translation says to “drag them in. (Luke 14:23)”  The devil is doing a great job of keeping people’s lives so filled with drama they can’t see Truth, Jesus, standing right in front them, and inviting them to accept him, and a better way to live.  God’s word says this:

His huge outstretched arms protect you– under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing–not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because GOD’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”  (Psa 91:4-16 MSG)

If you believe God, and accept him, and his word then live like it!  Ask God to deliver you from the drama in your life.  Speak into the issues in your life, in Jesus’ name, and say, “Peace be still.”  We have the same authority Jesus was given by his heavenly father, God.  Declare, Psalms 91 over your life.  You will be amazed, what the positive words out of your mouth will produce.  Believe it, and live it.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved