222

Just three little numbers, right?  Yeah, I thought so too the first time I noticed them.  That was the number of my room at the Chiara Center in Springfield, IL.  Chiara is, “Grounded in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi, Chiara Center offers a peaceful, inspirational setting for individuals, couples and groups who seek Christ’s healing presence.”  I stayed there for a couple of days, about a month after my father passed away, three years ago.

I did indeed find peaceful solitude and had some great moments with God.  Most people there take on a vow of silence while on the grounds.  I like to talk, so that was difficult for me to abide by, but in the long run, helped me.

After leaving Chiara, I slowly started noticing the number “222” popping up in all kinds of places.  It was so odd that I begin searching out, why, and what does it mean?  A friend helped me learn it meant “New Beginnings”.  Four months later I met my Filipino wife April.  That certainly was a new beginning, perhaps that is what God had in mind all along.  Then I wound up moving to the Philippines and living there for seven months.  Living in a foreign country was new to me.  Could that be it?  But I kept seeing the number, even after these big events took place.

I saw the number everywhere, and almost all the time, as addresses, on the clock, house numbers, as part of phone numbers, and even “order” numbers.

Then recently, my wife and I were invited to go to a lakeside resort, about an hour from our house, to pray with the team restarting the lodge, and creating a new ministry.  We arrived and fell in love with the place, and the location.  The lodge is close to where my father and I used to catch a lot of fish.  We listened to their vision over dinner and then went to our room and continued to pray, seek God.  We caught a hold of a vision of one way the place could be utilized.  The idea caught on and sparked further discussion by others.  At the end of the meeting, Saturday morning, we were excited about what all God wanted and could do at this location.

We stayed a second night with our neighbors, the host of the meeting and the cooks.  While sitting around a bon fire and April eating her first S’more, hearts and past experiences were shared.  Something started to grow inside April and me.  That next week we found ourselves back out to the lodge to take pictures for social media.  We were now volunteering.  To make things easier for us, we were given a room where we could leave some things and not have to pack everything, every time we went there.

Yep, you have probably guessed by now, our room key was to room “222”.  Tears swelled up in my eyes, and my heart flooded with joy.  This was what God was bringing April and me to, all along.  We are so excited, to now be a part of the ministry that will be happening here.  Lives will be changed.  Souls will be added to the kingdom of God.  Hearts will be reunited with others and with God.  Callings will take place here, and others will be strengthened.  The tired will find rest, and then the strength to go on.

As April and I begin our lives together and after we were married there were a few times when it almost all ended, and it felt like heaven and hell were warring, one side trying to keep us together, and the other side trying to pull us apart.  It was at those times, after the heat would die down, I would look at April and say, “Ya know, God must have something big for us to be a part of, because the devil is working really hard to tear us apart!”

Turns out, I was right, and we are so thankful God worked so hard to help us get to the day we found out that “222” was for this new beginning.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Drive thru God

Then Eliphaz from Teman spoke up:

“Would you mind if I said something to you?
    Under the circumstances it’s hard to keep quiet.
You yourself have done this plenty of times, spoken words
    that clarify, encouraged those who were about to quit.
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet,
    put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
But now you’re the one in trouble—you’re hurting!
    You’ve been hit hard and you’re reeling from the blow.
But shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?
    Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?  Job 4:1-6 (MSG)

Do you find it difficult to encourage yourself, even with the very words you have used with others?  I do.  At times it seems impossible to find hope and peace when you look at your own life.  Funny, how sure you are of the power of the words you spoke to another, but when it comes to applying them to your situation, not so much.  They seem empty.

In the above portion of scripture, Job’s friend, Eliphaz (it’s ok, I don’t know how to pronounce it either) was trying to remind him of what he has done to help others.  What he has said that encouraged, lifted up, and gave them hope.  Then he asked two very good questions. “Shouldn’t your devout life give you confidence now?  Shouldn’t your exemplary life give you hope?”

The answer is, “YES!”  It should, and will if you allow it.  God hasn’t changed, just your current situation has.  I struggled with this myself as I have described in recent post.  Yes, I knew better, and after giving it a lot of thought I think I have figured out partly why.  Time.

We live in such an instant gratification world that we expect everything to get resolved fast.  I mean, we have fast food, Prime same day delivery, one hour photos, why not “Fast God”?  Would it be asking too much for God to open up a drive thru?

Time seems to do a work in us.  Someone once said, “Time heals all wounds.”  Not sure about that.  It does seem to make us take survey of our lives though.  I think there are some things we go through when God gives us the time we need to know the bottom line is, we need him to do his best work in the situation.  I know the end of Job’s story and that is what happened in his life.  God did a work in the heart of Job by allowing tragedy to strike.

God really does work all things to his glory.

“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”  Rom. 8:26-28 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Like Today!

clockOne of the hardest things, about walking with God, is knowing, “when”.

You are trusting God to do something in your life.  You have asked for it more than a child asking for candy.  Whether you are waiting for your spouse, or waiting for the correct time to start that business that has been brewing in your heart for 10 years.  Or in my case, when am I going to win an Oscar award for the New York Times best seller I wrote?  Some maybe hanging on to the promise that one day they will be debt free.  We want to know “when”, and when we focus on the not knowing it distracts us from living today.

A father and mother knew they were taking their two daughters to Disneyland, but also knew there was no way they could tell them until that day had come.  Why?  Because those wise parents knew that every day before would be a disappointment to those girls if “that” day wasn’t “the” day they got to go.

Do you see now why God can’t tell us “when” what He has already commissioned to take place in our life will happen, because if He did it would ruin “today” if “today” wasn’t the “day” it came about.

If God told a man who his wife was going to be before it was time, that same man would most likely get a restraining order from that woman, because he would get caught stalking her simply because he wanted to see her, and get to know her.  A woman’s business may fail because she opened it too early, or in the wrong place.  Then she might be tempted to walk away from God, thinking, “Well God you said I would have my own business!”  I probably wouldn’t enjoy writing any book if I only focused on, “Is this the one?”

I would rather be a mile behind God,
than one inch in front of him.

Enjoy the journey.  Enjoy today.  Like today!  See God’s hand in your life today. You might be saying to yourself, “I haven’t seen God today at all.”  My reply would be, “You woke up didn’t you?”  Last year I went through a time of asking God for more money to pay the extra bills we had.  I remember God asking me, “Okay, how much money do you need today?”  I thought about it and realized the bills for the whole month had already been paid and “today” I didn’t need any.  God could have said, “Well then shut up!” but He didn’t.  He didn’t have to, because by his question I knew He had met all my needs for “today”.

TRUST will help you overcome the word, “when”.  Trust doesn’t mean you throw your hands up and say, “I don’t have to do anything.”  But it can calm you down knowing God will work it out when it is time.

This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 AMPC)

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

What Color is Your Faith?

071020CARALYN, a popular blogger at, beautybeyondbones.com who has shared her testimony of recovering from anorexia with God’s help, also shares her day to day life while living in the big apple (New York City).

The other day she shared how she has not gone to mass in person for about four months, due to Covid-19, and how she started noticing her faith waning.  She realized how she had been relying on other places to do the work that was needed to increase her faith.  Meaning, she wasn’t creating an environment on her own that would do the job.  She admitted she was developing “Good Person Christianity”. (She explains that term in her blog post.)  I suggested, via my comment, that perhaps God was using this time to show her how strong her faith was without any props holding her up.  She went on to describe her plan to change things.

It is in times, like our current days, faith is not formed, but displayed.  These days our faith may be tested or challenged, but at the end of it all, you will know how solid your faith is.

In these times, what you believe in, or who,
begins to show, or starts to go.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
James 1:2-4 (MSG)

So, you got this.  Stand firm on what you know to be true despite what you hear and see.  The days preceding these have prepared you for this hour, and like time, this will be over before you know it, and we will move on to sharknadoes, or something else.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Magkano?

Being with somebody must cost a lot, because most people don’t spend enough time with others.  Especially time with older people.  Sure, they might tell you the same stories you have heard a hundred times, and bore you, but there is one thing, no matter their health, older people can still do; talk!  Magkano?  In the Philippines it means, “How much?”  So magkano time are you willing to spend?

Spending time with God will enlarge your heart for others.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Words Unsaid

20181129_173114I was looking for my leftover Christmas cards when I came across a Father’s Day card that never got sent this year, because he passed the previous month.  It caused me to pause and think about words unsaid.

“People matter,” you’ve heard it said, but do you act like it?  Do you take the time for the ones who mean the most to you?  Do you tell them how much you love and or appreciate them?  I know, it’s hard when life seems to move at Mach 2, but it’s important.  And the thing is, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost anything at all.

“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God.” (Phi 1:3 MSG)

In the season of giving, give words!

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Spiritual Heart Murmurs

20180723_140043Doctor:  “Sit up straight and breathe normal.”  The doctor moved his stethoscope across my chest, and then around my back.  “Deep breaths.”  He listened.  For what?  Did he hear anything out of the ordinary?  Perhaps a murmur?  Was there reason for concern?

God:  What if God did that?  Listened to our hearts, and actually He does.  What would He hear?  A murmur?  Would there be any reason for concern?  So what would be a spiritual heart murmur?  Hatred?  Un-forgiveness?  Idolatry?  Lying?  A hurt?  Someone wronged you?

Search me, O God, and know my heart:  (Psa 139:23 KJV+)

Us:  What if we, God’s people, were walking around with spiritual stethoscopes?  Meaning; if we were talking to someone, we would take time to listen to their heart.  To actually hear if and what is causing them pain.  Then, what if we prayed with them right there, or promised to at a later time, and actually did?

Ask God to help you detect murmurs.  Your clue to stop and ask, “What’s wrong?”  Or, “How are you really doing?”  Doing this simple act might reduce the number of walking wounded around us.  Even better, would be to detect the problem early enough to prevent more serious heart damage.  Will you try?  Doing so, would show the other person you care, because God cares.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

My Chair

20180605_123227HER CHAIR:  “Hi.  How are you?”  I stood, holding open the door to the bank.

“Oh, I’m okay I suppose.  I just came from seeing my foot doctor, and well, I just can’t wait to get home to my chair,” the elderly lady said doing her best to conceal her pain.

A CHAIR:  As I reached the car, the words “my chair” were still echoing in my ears.  I was reminded of a pastor I once listened to, who used to encourage us to have a chair, where we would sit and have time with God.

THE CHAIR:  Then I thought of James Rubart’s book, “The Chair”.  A good read about an antiques dealer who is given, what appears to be a simple chair, but he is told it was made by Jesus when he was working in his dad’s carpenter shop.  He struggled to believe this, but when things happened to those who sat in it, his acceptance, begin to grow.

Your CHAIR:  Do you have one?  Do you have a special place where you like to go and sit and spend time with God?  Either in his word, or talking with him through prayer, or a place where you just go and absorb God.  I hope so.

MY CHAIR:  I have a chair, and I value the time I take to sit in God’s presence.  Yes, I know, life gets busy, and it takes discipline, or a strong desire to be with God, to take a moment and step off of the hamster wheel.  You know the wheel just goes round and round.  No matter how hard you try, you get nowhere.  Perhaps getting off, and resting with God will get you further down the road of life than you ever could imagine.  Sit, invite God into your room, into your life, and see what begins to happen in you.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved