Where Am I?

We are spoiled.  We have access to all kinds of technology these days, but my favorite is “GPS” (Global Positioning System).  No longer are we dependent on paper maps or atlases to tell us where we are.  I recall traveling across America and pulling into a rest stop, and looking at the big state map on the wall and searching for those familiar, reassuring, words, “You are here”. 

It’s nice to know where you are.  It’s also good to know where you are going, but God doesn’t always provide one, or the other, or both.  “Blind faith!”  But there are times when you can look back at where you have been and at what you have done, and project a path toward the future.  Doing so may provide some clue as to what God is up to and what He may have for you.  It’s kind of like solving a mystery.

As much as we may want to know where God is taking us the important thing to remember is to be obedient each and every day.  In other words, do today what you know is the pleasing and perfect will of God.  Taking each step, each day will lead you to the destination, action, or even the provisioning God has for you.

The challenge is to keep going, to not get discouraged, but to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That process is how individuals have done amazing things, so why wouldn’t it work in your journey with God?

I find Paul’s words encouraging.  I hope you do as well:

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” PHI. 3:12-14 (MSG)

I suppose, in some way, you could define “GPS” as “God’s Positioning System”. I also find it comforting that although I may not know what God is doing in my life, or where He is taking me, He always knows, “Where I am!”

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.

“God is Good”

Every time a friend of mine hears that statement he responds, “All the time!”  And you know what?  He’s right.  “Good” is part of God’s nature.  He can’t help himself but be good.  When I was in Africa I learned, they also respond in the same way.

Why is it important to remember this part of God’s nature?  Because we live in a world that tries to tell us who and what God is, yet they don’t even know him.  Some have never even made his acquaintance.

“Pinpointing precisely how many religions there are in the world today is next to impossible, although some estimate the number exceeds four thousand. The vast majority of those faiths are contained within a handful of major religious groups.” (By Mary Fairchild, updated 03/22/21)

It’s this kind of “I know how to get to God” that has caused mankind to create over four thousand “religions”.  What is a religion?  In a nut shell, its man’s way to God, but technically;

“Religion can briefly be defined as a specific belief system about God or gods expressed through a code of conduct, ethics, forms of worship, and rituals. Religion includes social, ethical, and ceremonial elements combined with the belief in an unseen world and often a deity.”

Mary Fairchild

This is why it is important to know and accept “God’s way to man”, which is through “relationship”.  It is through his son, Jesus.  By accepting that He is God’s son and asking him to forgive you of your sins, wrong doing, and then inviting him to live and dwell in your heart.  All that means is live like Jesus did.

To love on people like Jesus did.  To value, and spend time with people like Jesus did.  To walk with them in life and show them there is a better way to live.  That, it is possible to have life, now on earth and to have it abundantly!

God is good, and in recent days He has shown himself extra good to my wife and me.  He has lead us to a ministry that we are excited about, and we are getting in on the ground floor.  But even in the valleys, and the days seem so dark, and so long, God is still good.  It’s in those days we have to lean in a little closer to him, and ask him for help.  To get to your destination you have to travel.  Some journeys take you through some pretty rough neighborhoods, over rough terrain, or stormy seas, but none of that diminishes God’s goodness.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Finding Direction

Believe it or not, after my divorce, when it came to meeting a woman to potentially marry, I used to ask God to send her to my door and have her say, “Hi.  I’m God’s woman for you.”  In turn, I would say, “Great.  Let me get my coat.”  I was living in the Chicago area back then and it is cold 9 months out of the year.  Guess what?  It never happened.  I didn’t like all of the effort it took to date after divorce, and I wasn’t real sure I even wanted to remarry, but one thing I did know, if God wanted to lead me that way He could have.

My approach was kind of like praying for money, but not going out and looking for a job.  I used to tell my concerned friends, “Hey, I’m not looking for a wife, but my eyes aren’t closed either.”

One sure way to receive direction from God is to be moving.  You can’t steer a car if it’s not rolling.  With that said, you don’t stop praying while you are in motion.  God can certainly open and close doors, or lead you to someone who knows someone who God can use to meet your need, or desire.

I know of a single woman who is looking for a mate.  She keeps doing it her way, which seems as if she takes the first man to message her, and she gets involved in another long distance relationship that eventually ends badly.  After a few days of hurt, and anger she’s back at it again.  The problem is this; her expiration date is approaching.  I get the sense she is not focusing on God first, and trusting him to lead her.  There is nothing wrong with saying, “No” to a man when you get a check in your spirit.  God will give her the desires of her heart when the right man comes along.  In the meantime, she can have intimacy with God.

It’s important to yield to the plans of God.

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jer. 29:11 (MSG)

For six years, before my retirement, I planned on buying an RV, travel America, and write.  That didn’t happen then, but I now see a chance where it may happen in the future.  My wife likes to add this phrase after making plans of her own, “If God permits.”  Not a bad way to live at all.

“for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” 2 Cor. 5:7 (AMP)

It’s not easy walking with God, I get that, but it sure is exciting!

Whether you need direction for a spouse, a job, a place to live, what to say to someone who needs to hear from God, etc. choose to live in boldness.  Don’t sit in your living room and wait for the answers to come to you, oh, and don’t expect a billboard along the highway either, but get up, get out, and move.  Then trust the one who has the wheel of your life.  You’ll enjoy the destination that much better!

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.