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.

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.

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.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

The ball drops in Times Square, of New York City.  As this blog is posted at 6:00PM CST, it will drop five hours from now.  When it reaches the bottom it will be a new year; 2022!  I’ve mentioned before how much I like “new”.  New is fresh and clean, at least for a while.  How long will it take for me to put a spot, or blemish on the New Year coming?  Knowing me, not long.

But life isn’t always about counting down to a celebration.  In real life, when the ball drops it can mean a lost job, the unexpected death of a family member, a bad medical report, the end of marriage, or some other unexpected, unpleasant event.

I have also mentioned before how I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.  I, like so many others, break them in the first week.  But there is something I want to change in me.  That is how I react to people, things, and even unexpected ball drops.  I want to operate in one, or multiple “fruits of the Spirit”.  You know them;

 Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23.

My favorite part of verse 23 is this, “against such things, there is no law.”  I take this as to mean that this fruit is from God, and no one can affect them, change them, or remove them!  With God’s help, I can renew my mind and my first reaction to anything said, or done will be one of these fruits.  Fruit, as we know, provides nutrients that are good for us, and others.  Fruit tends to be sweet, delicious, and full of flavor.  When this type of change comes about, all will be better for it.

So come on 2022!  I’m ready to change!

Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2021 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.

Seeing Them

What is that a shadow of? I asked myself.  I turned slowly to see it was being made by a man.  A young, tall, thin man sporting a “man bun”.  He just stood there and starred while I completed my task.  I felt weirded out, to say the least.  I saw him at other times and made a decision that I didn’t like him.  Why?  Because of how he looked?  Because he didn’t say anything?  Perhaps.

About a month later he was in front of me with a young man.  He asked if his son could mow the lawn.  At first I was tempted to flee the scene as fast as possible by responding with a kind, “No thank you.”  But inside, I knew that wouldn’t do.  I introduced myself and learned their names. I told the father I noticed he was new to the neighborhood, and asked why if he didn’t mind sharing.  He said, “I’ve been away for a while.”  Instantly I had the gift of knowledge as I heard in my spirit, “prison”.  I didn’t mention it to him.

After the lawn was mowed, trimmed, and cleaned up I went outside to pay the young man.  After handing the money to him I turned to the father and felt as if I was to honor him.  I said, “I respect the fact that you are teaching your son the value of hard work and of earning money.”  He smiled.  I wondered if anyone had ever honored him before.  Judging by the surprise look on his face I am guessing not.  I think it made him feel warm and fuzzy inside.  I know listening to the Holy Spirit lead me in the situation and conversation made me feel that way.  Later on I saw him outside and asked, “Would you like some tomatoes?  We have more than we can use from our harvest.”  When I gave them to him and some chili peppers he smiled again.  He told me he loves spicy food.

Later that night I was reflecting on the events, and the conversation with him of the day.  I realized this was the beginning of what I call, “Life style evangelism.”  You come across normal when they first encounter you.  You help them, bless them, or simply give them your time.  Then, after a while, they will notice there is something different about you than in others, and they ask, “What makes you different?”  They always ask.  It is in that moment you can tell them about the love of Jesus Christ that dwells within you, and that He is the Hope of the world.

“the mere sound of his name will signal hope, even
        among far-off unbelievers.”  Mat. 12:21 (MSG)

Because they have first seen “love in action” they will listen.  And hopefully they will respond to the Holy Spirit working within them and accept that love, accept Jesus.  But all of this has to start with an action. That action is seeing them!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

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.