When Contentment Rules

His eyes take it all in.  He sees and hears things that he does not know what they are, but he is okay.  Why is he okay, even though he doesn’t understand?  Because he looks at his mother and father and observes how they are reacting to those things.  He remains calm, because they remain calm. He is content.

This child is one year old.  He is adorable.  He can be in the company of adults and yet his personality does not distract from what the adults are doing.  Of course he has needs, like hunger, but somehow he doesn’t have to tell his parents he is hungry, they know and they feed him.  He knows his every need will be met. He trusts them, so he doesn’t have to cry out to make his needs known.

As I witnessed this child, and the above thoughts went through my head, I started comparing my own contentment to this child’s.  It wasn’t long before I realized what the child was doing that made him an expert in contentment.

The child focused on his mother and father.

When we are in situations we do not know what is happening or why, we need to keep our focus on our heavenly Father.  We need to watch and see how He is reacting to the news, the weather, our boss, and our family members, to anything that personally affects us.  Is God running around like a chicken with its head cut off screaming, “Now what?” or is God remaining calm therefore we can remain calm?

The child didn’t have to cry out in order to get his “needs” met.

God knows what we have need of.  “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Mat.6:8 (NIV)   It’s about knowing God and trusting him.

True contentment brings peace.  This kind of contentment allows you to sleep, and experience true rest. A calmness that, at times, can’t be explained.  Others will be in amazed when they see it.  That is what it is like when contentment rules.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Have a Friend in Me

friend

  1. a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

So what’s your definition of a friend?  A true friend is difficult to find.  And when you think you have found one, it can take more time to know if you can completely trust them.  Do you have such a friend?

The Bible talks about, “Confess your sins one to another.” (James 5:16)  After becoming aware of this scripture I first thought, “No way!”  And for many years I didn’t.  How in the world could you trust someone with the darkest side of you?  Here is a good test to see if you can trust a friend with something you did wrong.  You tell them something, that if it got out would be embarrassing, but not career ending.  Then, you can feel safe confessing your sins.

I have such a friend.  It took a few years of getting to know him before I knew I could trust him with anything.  I have told him things I have not spoken of to any other living person.  He has shared likewise.  I value my friendship with him very much.  We talk to each other every week.  As well, we pray, intercede, and there are times when one of us has to correct the other’s attitude toward another person or situation.  I thank God for him, for he is a sure gift from God.

The great philosopher Woody, from the movie “Toy Story” put it like this:

You’ve got troubles, and I’ve got ’em, too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and we see it through
‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me

I hope you have such a friend.  If not I pray you would find one, and if you don’t, you should ask God to help you find one.  You will be glad you did.  I should also add, if someone opens up their heart, and confesses a sin in their life to you, please do not speak of it to anyone else.  The damage you could cause may take years to heal in them, if they ever do.

Like my trusted friend once said, after revealing a sin in his life, “Wow, I feel so much better, and lighter after sharing that with you.”  That is something you can’t put a price tag on.  It’s priceless!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Being Pursued

I asked my wife, April the other day if she felt guilty for living in America now, knowing the rest of her family and friends were still in the Philippines.  I think I would, at least a little.  But her immediate reply was profound, and full of wisdom.  She said, “No.  Not at all.  For God has bestowed upon me “favor” for all of my sacrifices.”  Her response surprised me, and after more pondering I realized it was true, and balanced.

Is this the realization of the verse in Psalms 23, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”?

My friend and I were discussing this issue, and he mentioned hearing a message where the minister talked about “favor” pursuing you.  Hunting you down, if you will.  I take that as meaning this; blessings coming your way and upon your life before you even ask God for help or even perhaps before you are aware you have a need.

So how does one enter a life of being pursued?  By fully, completely placing all of your trust and faith in God.  Walking and communicating with God on a daily basis.  Doing your best to live according to his commands.  By the way, those commands don’t exist to “harsh your mellow”, but to actually give you a good life free from hurt, pain, and harm.

In the last month my wife and I have had some blessings come our way and they were unexpected.  We weren’t looking for them, but they found us.  We appreciate it a lot and are thankful we have favor with God.  He loves his children and wants to do good things for He is a loving father.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When God Was Still by My Side

“Oh, how I long for the good old days,
    when God took such very good care of me.
He always held a lamp before me
    and I walked through the dark by its light.
Oh, how I miss those golden years
    when God’s friendship graced my home,
When the Mighty One was still by my side
    and my children were all around me,
When everything was going my way,
    and nothing seemed too difficult.”

Do you find yourself saying something similar in the days of late?  Are you longing for the days when life seemed easier?  I have.  Reality, though, is this; those days had their own problems, but with that said, there is more “hate” these days and “perverted lifestyles” right in front of our faces.

Another reality is this; God hasn’t changed.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  It may seem harder to detect his presence, see the path He wants us to walk, but He is still there.  He still graces our homes.

Maybe things in life aren’t going “your” way, but they very well could be going “God’s” way.

Though the days may be different, God is the same, so we need to trust in him the way we did back in the “good old days”.  We need to remember not to look, or focus on the lives of those around us, or the hate being spewed by hurt people, but to keep our gaze on him, who is, and will forever be in control of all things, and know this; God is still by your side!

The above quote was spoken by Job in Job 29:1-6 (MSG)

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Roll the Dice

The title of this blog post, “Roll the Dice” is a phrase that comes from gambling.  A similar phrase is, “Let the chips fall where they may.”  Both of these phrases were spoken to me today by a believer in God.  I shared with my friend, who said them, “I don’t like either phrase.”  He replied, “Why not?”

I know he meant well, but he was talking about a situation that he does have authority over, because God gave it to him.  You see, when you are walking in the will of God, and He places you in a position that He wants you to have, and you pray giving the situation over to God, to be God in, then it is not up to “chance”!

Things will not fall where they may, or be decided by the roll of dice, or by any half hazard means of chance, but will work out for good for those who love God. This brings glory to God. His word says so.

 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” Rom. 8:28 (NET)

This verse is well known, so why don’t those who know it, believe it?  And better yet, why don’t they live according to that knowledge?  It’s powerful!  Its life changing, and situation changing as well.

So the next time you are in a pickle, or dealing with a difficult situation, pray!  Give it to God!  Then walk with your head up, knowing, and trusting God has heard you and that it will work out just the way He wants it to in order to do a good and perfect work in the lives of all who are involved.

“Amen!”  Now that’s good preaching if I do say so myself.  Where’s the offering plate?  This message is worthy of an offering!

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

First Bank and Trust

Life sure can be rough at times, and dealing with people can make it even more difficult.  It can be hard to believe people and extremely challenging when it comes to trusting them.  Being hurt by someone in the past comes into play when deciding to trust a new person in your life.  You can be afraid to open up your heart knowing, like before, you could get that heartbroken, again.

When you hold back your trust the person desiring it can get agitated, even mad.  Only they know if what they are telling you is 100% true or not.  This may be someone you love, a lot, and you really do want to believe them, but your past experience can cause you to proceed with caution.

There is nothing wrong with being careful, but not opening up your heart to love again most likely will lend you to being single the rest of your life or in a relationship that experiences bumps along the way.

When it comes to God, be assured, you can trust him completely.  In fact, in order for the relationship with God to work best trust is vital.  Trust, believes what is said, and what is done believing that the motives are pure, and with God, they are.  Please don’t project on God the hurts you have experienced from humans.

God did not come from Adam and Eve, as mankind did.

“The Lord came to us from far away, saying, “I have loved you with a love that lasts forever. So I have helped you come to Me with loving-kindness.” Jer. 31:3 (NLV)

God has not sinned.  He is Holy. He will always treat you with the utmost love, concern, and care.  You can bank on it.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Road Construction

At the entrance to my subdivision there is road construction.  I can only exit and enter by going one way while they upgrade the infrastructure, water, electric, and sewer that runs along the road, or under it.  Then, they will put down a new road, with new lane stripes and new signs.  They say it will take 6 months to complete.  It has already been two and a half.

If that wasn’t enough to endure, they have torn up a major highway interchange just blocks from the road I mentioned above.  It is reported to take two years to finish.  The officials say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

As I have shared in previous posts, I married a Filipino woman in 2019.  Soon after the wedding, we worked with an immigration attorney to get the process started to bring my wife to America.  I lived in the Philippines for several months until I needed an eye procedure.  We discussed the situation and felt it was best if I came back to America to have it done here.  Thinking her immigration process wouldn’t take that long and she would follow me here shortly.  It seemed as if they had missed placed her file and then shortly after they started working on her case, Covid hit.

At the time of this writing, my wife is still not here with me.  There have been lots of conversations with God about the process and questions of, “Why is it taking so long?”  Walking with God in life is definitely a journey.  As we are now getting toward the end of the immigration process I can look back and see with greater understanding.  I can see how God has updated power lines in our lives making sure that in the future we look to him for uninterrupted power to live by.  He has put in a new sewer system to remove the waste and potentially toxic aspects of our personalities away safely and quickly.  My wife compares my temper to passing gas.  She says, “It stinks at first, but it doesn’t last long.”  She has learned to let me vent and then we can return to our regularly scheduled life already in progress.

If God didn’t take the time to pour new pavement in our lives we would be traveling with him on dirt, and when the storms come get bogged down in mud.  Yuk!  If he only put down stones travel would be easier but it would be a bumpy and rough ride.  Not enjoyable at all.  But God has used the time, while waiting for her immigration to be completed, to put down nice smooth pavement.  When the final touches are completed my wife and I will be able to come and go quickly in any direction with ease.  We will be able to see the lanes we should stay in so we avoid head on collisions and harm.

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

Yes, walking with God is difficult at times, and it is hard to see what He is doing, because some improvements are below the surface. At times it’s hard to understand why it is taking so long, but He would say, “Go slow.  Proceed with caution.  Be patient.  It will be worth it in the end.”

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

“To Hear Our Hours, Press 5”

In some countries, people are focused on working hard, succeeding, and reaching their goals.  Some of those individuals are followers of Christ.  I have seen where they are so focused on their “get er done lists” that they seem to fail in other areas, like community.  In other words, they are making great strides in life, in business, but falling short in doing life with others, friends, neighbors, and perhaps even family.

There is nothing wrong with success, especially if achieving greater finances allows one to be more generous, but if someone needs to talk, to share their current struggles, do they need to make an appointment?  Are those high achievers generous with their time? Or do people who have needs, need to come back during normal hours of operation?

Spending time with others is a gift;
be generous!

I don’t see this as the example Jesus set for us.  He was there, in the moment, for the people, and he still managed to achieve the goals his heavenly father set before him to accomplish.  Yes, there were moments when he set time aside to be in communication with God, his father, but if you read the gospel you will see when people sought him out, he responded.

There are a few verses in the Bible that share when Jesus saw the multitude, he was moved with “compassion”.  The word “compassion” means in the Greek “to do whatever it takes to alleviate the need.”

Compassion starts with seeing!

When he saw the vast crowds of people, Jesus’ heart was deeply moved with compassion, because they seemed weary and helpless, like wandering sheep without a shepherd.  Mat. 9:36 (TPT)

Jesus didn’t keep office hours.

If you make yourself available to people, the very people who live next door, at school, at work, and even those who attend church with you, then you are being like Jesus.  You are following his example, and therefore being a true Christian, which means Christ like, or little Christ one.  This should be our goal, and you know what, God will still help you reach your goals, when you avail yourself to others.

I challenge you to try it, because there is a whole world of lost people out there.  They are sick, they are oppressed, they are depressed, they need God, and you are right there next to them.  Please don’t say, “Well, spending time with them is not on my ‘To-Do-List’.”  Here’s the thing, those people are on God’s “To-Do-List”, because He loves them.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

When Will God Show Up?

There is a lot going on in our world at this time.  Two weeks from today, America will decide to keep the president we currently have, or to elect a new one in.  The most trying thing concerning these times is, how will our decisions effect the future of America, our own lives, or the effect they will have on the world?

This kind of uncertainty can be unnerving, even scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’m sure there are people all around the world asking the same question, “When will God show up?”  I share this message with you this day,

He already has!

You see when Jesus died on the cross the veil in the temple of God ripped from top to bottom, and this was no thin, cheap curtain either one might purchase at a discount store.  The only way that curtain could be ripped was by God.  He did it to show that now, through the death of his only son, when we accept Jesus into our lives we can enter into the very presence of God any time we want to.

As a result, for the people who believe in God, his presence is with us as we now are the temple of God.  And we take his presence everywhere we go into the world, and into our homes.  Those are the places where people are, and those people need to see God through us.  The peace He gives unto us to live in the current times we are in.

There are a lot of lies out there being spread.  You could call it, “Fake News”.  Always ask God what He says about the things others are telling us.  Remember this, just because it is on the news or on the internet does not make it true.  Even if part of it is true, God has the final word.

Believers need to place their hope and trust in God, knowing that they are his children, and God, being the loving father He is, takes care of his children.

When others are running aimlessly around in fear they will notice the peace and calm that is within you.  Remember as God’s temple, take his presence to the people of the world.  Be visible, be vocal, so they too may have the hope and peace you have.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

Help Wanted

Believe it or not, there was a time when jobs were posted in a newspaper.  A newspaper is a set of thin papers with black ink printed on them, which came off on to your hands, and the paper contained news, ads, and was the social media of the day.  One would pour over the listings and usually circled the jobs with red ink which looked promising.

These days, jobs are posted online by individual companies or via websites that advertise opportunities to work.  Even with the new ease of finding whose hiring, it can still take a lot of effort and energy getting noticed, in the crowd, and getting your foot in the door.

I have worked 46 years of my life, and I have never had any trouble finding a job.  The longest I have been unemployed is four months.  One time, after moving to a new city, I found a job in two hours.  So am I just lucky?  Maybe, but I contribute my success to one simple thing:

Tithing

My first tithe was 10 cents.  I was eleven, and had earned a dollar.  My parents and my church taught, lived, and preached about tithing.  In case you don’t know what tithing is, it is this:

Returning to God the first 10% of your paycheck.  It is important to pay the tithe first, and then live on the rest.  Yes, it can be difficult to do, especially if times are extremely tough, but I assure you it is worth it.  You are returning to God what is his anyway.  Tithing tells God, “I trust you.” and a loving father likes to be trusted.

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings [you have withheld]. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, this whole nation! 10 Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you [so great] a blessing until there is no more room to receive it. 11 Then I will rebuke the devourer (insects, plague) for your sake…  Mal.3:8-11 (AMP)

You cannot out give God!

Tithing, and being happy to do it, thrills God, because He loves a cheerful giver.  You give the tithe to your local church, or to the ministry where you are getting fed spiritually.  Then, if you want to give above your tithes it is called an “offering”.

It all starts by going through the “Help Wanted” section of a newspaper, or website.  By asking God for a job isn’t that what you are saying to him?  “God, your help is wanted.”  Then, when He answers, what better way to thank him every time you hold that paycheck in your hand, but to return back 10%.  Come to think of how times have changed, I guess we no longer hold paychecks in our hands either.  I miss holding that document that expressed the fruits of my labor.  “Thank you God, for your love and faithfulness to provide for me all these years.”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.