The April Effect

As most of my regular readers know, my wife April is now here with me in America as her immigration visa finally arrived.  In the past three weeks, she has been here, not only have I introduced her to life in America, and our foods, but also our conveniences.  It has been an enjoyable experience for me.

One such highlight was when we went through an automatic car wash.  You have thought we were at Disneyland and it was a ride.  Like “Mr. Toad’s Moving Lilly Pad”, or something.  She smiled, she laughed, and squealed through each phase of the process.  Evidently they don’t have them in the Philippines, or she had never seen one before.

But an even greater experience, for me at least, has been watching how my friends, and family members have reacted to her.  I have taken notice how easily they open up, and start sharing with her.  They warm up to her quickly and seem to feel comfortable around her, as if she was their “comfy” clothes they wear when at home.  One friend even said to her, “I feel as if I have known you all my life!”  Of course I smile with adoration when I witness this phenomenon.

Yesterday though I started thinking more about why this was the case.  It didn’t take long for me to figure out.  Okay, to be honest, I probably got a download from the Holy Spirit whispered into my mind.  God, is love. (1 John 4:8)  And my wife, April is a child of God.  She loves him very much and has taken on his character of loving people.  So whether people realize it or not they are responding, or reacting to the love of God in my wife’s heart.

I believe with strong passion that from the time a baby is born, the spirit man inside that child starts on a journey to be reunited with God.  So when a person enters their world, the spirit inside of them recognizes the Spirit of God inside the person who just entered, and they connect with the person easily.

This “effect” begs the question, shouldn’t all, who have a good relationship with God, seek and desire more of him and his love?  So when we are out and about in the world people will open up to us sooner, and easier and begin to have serious conversations that can eventually lead to God and potentially lead them to God?  Of course, the answer is, “Yes”.  What hinders this to happen is us.  We get in the way of God with our “rights” and our own “understanding” and “values”.  Ones that should be disregarded perhaps, or lined up to confirm to God’s “values”, and truths.

“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you,but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.” Rom. 12:2 (TPT)

So, in conclusion, “The April Effect” isn’t really her, but what is happening when people encounter her is “The God Effect”.  May we all grow, in our hearts, an enormous amount of the love of God that it effects people.  It moves them closer to him then where they were before we entered their world.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

From Hope, to Reality

As you faithful readers of this blog know, I have been waiting for my wife’s immigration to America for two years.  Those were very difficult, trying, and long years, but the one thing that kept us going was hope!

Hope is recognizing there is very little you can do, while wanting a certain result.

Well, if all went as planned, I met my wife yesterday at an airport in America.  Waiting for her just outside the doors to the immigration section.  This process has been such a challenge that I have said, “I won’t believe it until I see her.”  But yesterday, my hope turned into reality.  God is so good.  He kept us close to his heart especially on the days when our hearts were breaking, aching, and we struggled to see us crossing the finish line.

I know we are not alone.  Many of you are facing your own struggles where all you can do is hope.  Don’t give up.  Don’t let go of God’s hand.  I know He will never let go of yours.  I recently posted a blog where I wrote about the women with the issue of blood, from the Bible.  Her reality took 12 years to arrive.  Her sickness bankrupted her, but she never gave up hope.  Then the day came where Jesus appeared on the scene.  She was healed by simply touching the hem of his garment as he walked by.  It was her faith in Jesus that healed her and not the robe he was wearing.

“So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment.”
Rom. 8:25 (TPT)

So whatever it is you are hoping for, a job, a healing, a spouse, or salvation for a loved one don’t stop hoping.  You never know the day when Jesus may show up on the scene.  It would be a tragedy to give up the day before he passes by. For Jesus passing by in the life of me and my wife I am so grateful.  Praising and worshipping his mighty name all the way across the finish line.  Thank you God.  Thank you Jesus, and thank you Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

A New Chapter

America.  She changed today.  Maybe the reality is, she changed a long time ago from the innocent days I once knew, but this truth is obvious today.  I grew up in Oklahoma, in a middle class family that somehow, always seem to have enough and then some.  I watched as my parents made good decisions and choices who worked hard for what they wanted.  “The American Dream”.  I believed in this dream and I too sought it out.  I wanted to own my own house, well after paying 30 years of payments.  I desired a good job, a loving wife, 2.5 kids, one of each sex, and to be a happy family.

The truth is, it took me 35 years to buy the house that will be mine in 26 and 1/2 years.  I have two kids, one of each sex, who don’t talk to me, and, their mother divorced me after she made a huge mistake, but convinced everyone our marriage failed solely due to me.  As a result, my biological family doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, so you could say I don’t have the happy family I desired.  Many Christmas days have been spent filling the empty stocking with tears.

After years of checking the “Divorced” box on forms I met and then married a Filipino woman.  I thought perhaps now I would get the happy family I desired.  You know what?  There are cynical, greedy, lying family members in all cultures, but the woman I married is the exception to a few members of her own family.  I have written about it a few times; my wife lives out God’s definition of love.

After our wedding, I was with her for seven months in the Philippines, until I needed a medical procedure, so I left her there thinking immigration wouldn’t take that long and she would come to America on my heels.  There was some delay in the process, but as we were reaching the finish line Covid hit.  Another year without her, another moist Christmas day.  A lot of crying out to God, and asking, “Why?”  The big three set in: Discouragement, Disappointment and yes, even Depression.  As I crawled through those dark days way down, deep inside me, was a mustard seed of faith that was whispering, “God knows what He is doing.”  In full disclosure, my mind was asking, “Are you sure?”

January 7th, we received an email stating my wife has her long awaited interview with the U.S. embassy in Manila.  LIGHT pierced our darkness.  I wanted to wait to share this until she was actually here, but someone needs to read these words now.  We are hoping we will be together by Valentine’s Day.  What a time to reunite our love for each other and for our God who loves us beyond belief.

When my wife is in our home in Oklahoma a new chapter of our lives together will begin.  Unfortunately, she will never know the “America” I grew up in.  Today, those with money want more, and those who “think” they have power want total control.  I sense days may be coming that perhaps will not be comfortable.  Standing up for what is true, for what is right could prove to be difficult.  There will most likely be a separation of those who have a solid relationship with God from those who were pretending, because in the America I grew up in, it was popular to say you were a “Christian”, but not anymore.

Yes a new chapter will be starting soon in my life, but also a new chapter in the life of America.  Our country’s slogan, printed on our currency, may no longer be, “In God We Trust”. Sometimes I wonder who is really holding the pen, writing each chapter.  As for my life, I want God to, because whether I understand his ways or not, He does know what He is doing!

Isaiah 55:8-11(MSG)

8-11 “I don’t think the way you think.
    The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
        God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
    so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
    and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
    and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
    producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
    not come back empty-handed.
They’ll do the work I sent them to do,
    they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.

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.

I Had To

This week I choose to do something I didn’t want to do.  My heart was restless as the date approached.  I discussed the situation with a friend, and also with my wife.  Then two days before the event my wife, my helpmate, said one word.  As soon as I heard it, I knew.  I knew what I had to do.  I was thankful for her hearing God where I struggled.

You see, there are times when someone hurts you, and the pain goes deep into your heart.  You tell them what they did, but they don’t care at all, and their pride keeps them from admitting wrong and apologizing.  When this happens, you find yourself wanting to avoid them to protect your heart from future pain.  As well, you don’t want to do anything for them, as you feel they do not deserve it.  I had forgiven them, but I didn’t want to see them.  I don’t mean to be so secret about the details, but I don’t want to give any clues that might identify the perp.

God’s word tells how to handle hurt:

Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. Ephesians 4:31-32 TPT

Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Luke 6:28 NLT

I did do the right thing, but I had to pray, a lot, and ask God for help.  I also asked him to protect me, and help me not bring up the past while I was there.  They did do one thing that bothered me while I was in their presence, but I left before the pain erupted.  God is good at helping us in our time of need. His specialty is loving those who don’t deserve it.

If you are facing a similar situation, pray, and ask God to help you do the right thing that will glorify Him.  You never know, but your loving kindness might just be the catalyst to change things around.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved. 

What Day is This?

061220I notice patterns.  I also see common denominators.  I can’t help it.  It’s the way I am made.  I think I could have that disorder: Denoterns.  Anyway, perhaps many others have it as well, but I have noticed several times in the Bible where it took three days to change someone, or something.

Take Jonah.  God gave him direct instructions to go to Nineveh and share whatever message God told him to.  I think Jonah took it upon himself to judge the people there, and he boarded a ship going the opposite direction.  Perhaps his heart was full of hurt he associated with the people there and he wanted God to wipe them off the map.  You can read the whole story for yourself in the book of Jonah in the Bible, but after he was thrown overboard and spending three days in the stomach of a great fish, his heart changed.

Three days!

There are many other instances whether they journeyed, stayed or not ate for three days.  Three days can seem like eternity when you are hungry, thirsty, hurting, or desperate for an answer from God.

Jesus in the tomb is probably the most famous story of a three day ordeal in the Bible, but after his third day, anyone in the world can have their wrong doing forgiven, just by accepting Jesus.

On a personal note, three days after my wife gave up on hoping, asking, and believing God to send her a husband I sent her a message.  On the fourth day, her life changed.  It seems as if it takes three days to work out the flesh.  In other words, it takes that long to realize that when your situation changes it wasn’t you, but had to be God.

I don’t like going through a three day ordeal, but I hang on, because I love the fourth day.

If you are going through something, and you have turned it over to God, realizing you can’t do anything about it otherwise, then know this; your forth day is coming!

CONFESSION:  I made up the disorder Denoterns.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Life Changing Love

Charlie 1.pngThere is this unbelievable feeling when you are in love with someone. You think about them all the time.  You can’t wait to see, talk, or be with them again.  There is nothing else that feels the same way.  This is how I feel about my wife.  Ok, I know some of you, who know us, will say, “Yeah, but you two have only been married 7 months!”  This may be true, but you see I have purposed in my heart to never fall “out” of love with her.  I have this desire to forever find another way, to make her feel loved.

Which is a nice segue into my second point.  A greater feeling than loving someone else is knowing that you are loved by them.  Again, I have to point to my wife.  She is so understanding, patient, and forgiving.  Knowing I am loved by her will cause me to smile for no particular reason.

But even greater than her love, is God’s love.  His love is perfect, and again I will smile when I sense his love come over me in waves.  Not because He just did something for me, but because I am his child.  God can’t help but love us because, after all, He is love. (1 John 4:8)

Ways to experience this kind of love:

  1. This kind of love is recognized when you spend time with God.
  2. This kind of love is known after spending time reading the Bible, and learning how He has loved others.
  3. This kind of love is solidified by loving God back. You do that by praising him, and worshipping him.  When you are confident, knowing how much God loves you, nothing that happens to you in life can threaten your relationship with God.

Be love to others:

In the current condition of our world, we, who know, have, and trust in God’s love need more now than ever to share that kind of love with others, who may be lost, confused, or scared.  God’s love through you, might just be the very thing that saves their life now and for eternity!

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.