Living Light

Photo by: cottonbro

I have moved at least thirty-five times in my life. No, my father wasn’t in the military either. Thirty-one of those relocations took place after I was eighteen. No, I wasn’t in the military. Changing circumstances in life prompted most of the moves. So, needless to say, I know how to pack. And I am extremely good at it. Quick and organized. (I’m not soliciting for a job to help someone move!) I have lived in five different states. I think one of them was the state of “Confusion!”

Here is one of my secrets to packing: place the items you will need first in your new location into boxes with fluorescent duct tape on all four top right corners of the box. This would include towels, bathroom items, sheets, and electronics like the alarm clock. Once the truck is unloaded, set up the bed first and make it. Then when you are tired and ready to sleep, you can shower and go to bed because it is prepared for you. Those bright tape boxes are easy to find. That info is free. No need to send me any money for that professional moving advice!

I have been known to pack and unpack all my boxes in only 24 hours. One fundamental way to make that happen is to live light. No collectibles to speak of and only a few sentimental items, and the rest is pretty much only the things I need to get by in life. Things don’t weigh me down.

One can make an easy comparison between moving and living life. I have seen people so weighed down by issues, hurts, and disappointments in life that they are almost entirely paralyzed. They struggle to move through an entire day. Jesus didn’t want to see people like this, so He invites us to give the things in life that can be difficult to carry ourselves and to give them to him.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mat. 11:28-30 (MSG)

This isn’t simply a well-known verse but an invitation to allow Jesus to take what burdens us, and when we do seriously give them to him, then forget about them. I know it can be challenging because the pain is cut deep, and letting it go seems impossible, but Jesus offers to carry it for us because He doesn’t want to see us suffer. He knows what they did or said wasn’t right, fair, or just, but He still says, “Give it to me.” So take him up on his offer. Stop packing your pain in boxes and moving them from place to place. You will feel better and live life lighter with less of a load.

Copyright © 2022 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.

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.

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.

Adventures with God

 

 

storms of lifeTraveling to new places can be exciting, exhilarating, and exuberant. It can also be daunting, especially when your phone doesn’t work. One of my mother’s friends said, before my trip to the Philippines, that he couldn’t even find the airport in his home town, much less one 7000 miles away. Trust me, there were many times when I was praying, a lot. Especially when I arrived and couldn’t find my host family. Turned out, United had started using a different terminal in Manilla 3 days before my arrival.

Trusting God, and walking with him can be very similar. That is why it is important to know God’s voice. To be able to hear it when the noises of life are deafening. The only way to get good at it is to practice    e, a lot! It doesn’t come easy because we are used to listening to ourselves or to others. The best way to know God’s voice is to know God. To know his word as well. That way when his Spirit whispers into your spirit, you will know it’s him.

When you get this practice into your life, you and God can go anywhere with ease and have many great adventures together. Rom. 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (NIV)

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved