Looking For Jesus (Part 5)

The shepherds.  The evening started as normal as any other.  The shepherds had done their duty of setting their night watches over their sheep.  Then, out of nowhere, an angel stood among them, and said, “Don’t be afraid.  I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12 (MSG)

Soon after, they no doubt, took a selfie of them with the angel to post on Biblebook, then decided to go over to Bethlehem as quick as they could to see for themselves what God had revealed to them.  Sure enough, seeing was believing, and they told everyone what the angel had said to them.

They left looking for Jesus.  Not believing, at first, what God had revealed to them, but after seeing Jesus they praised and worshipped him.

There are several truths here:

  1. God shows up with good news when least expected.  On the normal days.
  2. God can show up when you are going about your regular duties.
  3. There are times when his presence will catch you off guard.  When you are not looking for Him.
  4. God will use the least expected to do his work.
  5. Jesus’ birth was meant for everybody, worldwide.
  6. Some people have to see Jesus to believe, but it was still faith that got the shepherds to go to Bethlehem in the first place.

And the greatest truth in this post:

All, everyone, even you, will praise and worship Jesus when he is seen.  In that moment, everything you or they have heard, all their life, about God, and his son Jesus will be confirmed.

In everyday life, do what you need to do, but always be looking for Jesus to show up, to give you a message, forgiveness, an answer to prayer, or a gift.  And most important, be willing to share what Jesus gives you with others.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 3)

Elizabeth.  The Virgin Mary’s cousin.  Elizabeth and her husband, Zachariah were quite old, and childless.  They lived honorably before God, yet while on a normal day, at work, when an unannounced angel appeared to him in the temple of God, he was frightened.  Of course the angel said, “Fear not.”  The angel went on to inform Zachariah that his wife would become pregnant with a son, and he was to name him, “John”.  Then the angel continued and gave him instructions for John and told his life cause was to prepare the people for God.  He returned home, and I’m sure he had a difficult time getting his wife to join him in the bedroom, but soon after Elizabeth got pregnant.

I love how God takes everyday, ordinary people to join him in doing some of his most extraordinary work.  “How?” you ask. “Really?  You don’t think God can use you, that you have nothing to offer?  Watch God.  You’re never too old, too short, too tall, too under resourced, or too anything.  All God needs from you is a willing heart.  One that has been given to him.

I had a similar experience when I was married to my first wife.  In a dream I was told our first “born” child would be a boy, and that we were to name him, “Joshua David”, and he was to be a spiritual warrior.  We lost our first child after 9 or 10 weeks of pregnancy, and sure enough, our first born was a son.  You can bet we had no problem picking out his name.  And I am holding God to his word that my son will be what God has called him to be.

Zachariah, being a priest of Judah, had to have known the heart of God’s chosen people were turning away.  He and his wife had been waiting for so long for God to answer their prayers for their nation and for their own lives, but God did.  They certainly had no idea God would use them and their son to set people free from sin.  In fact, I love what Elizabeth says.

Elizabeth, conceived. She went off by herself for five months, relishing her pregnancy. “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!” she said.  Luke 2:25 (MSG)

Mary went to see Elizabeth and to announce her own pregnancy.  I’m sure Mary knew what had happened to her cousin, and would have no problem believing her own testimony, because of it.  The scriptures say that when Elizabeth heard the news of Mary the baby she was carrying leaped.

Elizabeth was not only looking for her own son, John, but now of a greater one her son would later say he was not worthy to untie the straps of his sandals.  She too was looking for Jesus.

It seems some people have a hard time accepting and believing Truth.  When they hear how much God loves them and that He gave his only son to die on a cross for them.  I think the reason is they try to figure out God with their natural minds, but God is spiritual.

This Christmas season, and always, look harder for Jesus.  Expect and believe even when it doesn’t make sense.  Look for your healing.  For the salvation of your family and friends.  For the future of your children, or for the financial miracle you desperately need.  Who knows?  You may soon be responding like Elizabeth, “So, this is how God acts to remedy my unfortunate condition!”

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 2)

Joseph.  A good man, in fact, a righteous man.  “Righteous”, a $12 dollar word which means, in right standing with God.  A smart man, reasonable in his dealing with people.  How do I know this?  Simple.  By reading the scriptures.

You see, when Mary told him she was pregnant, he of course was shocked and bewildered.  How could she do this to him?  And before they were to get married.  Did she truly love him, or was she marrying him for some other reason?  Men seem to have a hard time trusting women ever since the fall of Adam and Eve.  Due to the curse of sin men and women have had issues relating.

Back to him being a good man, he decided to end the engagement privately hoping it would save Mary and her family public embarrassment, but people talk and would have found out anyway.  Especially when Mary would start showing from her pregnancy.  But then:

20-23 While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus. Mat. 1:20-25 (MSG)

Because Joseph was a God fearing man, he obeyed, and he too begin looking for Jesus.  Can you imagine what he was going through?  A new husband to a woman who has found favor with the God of the universe and is now carrying His son.  I’m sure Joseph had more questions than answers.  What do I do with him? Do I teach him how to be a carpenter, like me? Teach him about wood and nails? Many people have questions when they accept Jesus, and that’s okay, but Joseph accepted Jesus, and he accepted God’s plan.

Look for Jesus.  You will find him, because He has already found you. Don’t get hung up on the details. Don’t try to figure out God’s plan with your mind, because you never will fully understand it, but trust me, it’s all about love. Love for the people of the world. Love for you.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Looking For Jesus (Part 1)

Mary.  Singing.  Dreaming of her upcoming life as the young bride of Joseph.  Tending to the laundry.  What would have been another typical day, of her life, turned into the most extraordinary day of her life.  An angel appeared.  “Fear not.”  Yeah, right.  If it happened to me I would have had to do some more laundry.

“You have found favor with God.  You will become pregnant with a Son, and you will name him, Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  God will give him the throne of his father, David.  He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”

Mary questioned God’s plan, considering she had never been with a man.

But the angel explained, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore the child to be born will be holy, in fact he will be called, the Son of God.” (Luke 1)

From that day forward, Mary found herself looking for Jesus.  As he grew inside her, when he turned, kicked, and did all the things babies do inside the womb, she had to have wondered, what will he look like it?  Will I see the face of God, or will he look like me?  Time would reveal that Jesus looked just like God in all ways.  For he always said, “I only do what I have seen my Father in heaven do.”

I’m sure Mary wasn’t the perfect parent, but Jesus forgave her for that.  His death on the cross not only forgave her, but all of us who accept him for who he is, the Son of God.  And guess what, he’s coming back.  He’s coming to gather those who believe and call him, Lord.  To take us to his home now, heaven to be with him forever.  I’m living my life in a manner to be invited for the second greatest coming in the history of the earth!  I’m looking for Jesus, are you?

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

You Have to do Something!

God sent ONE angel to defeat the entire Assyrian army.

Whenever we are in a rough spot, and our backs are up against the wall, there is something innate within that forces us to want to find our own way out.  We will do just about anything, and it seems the more desperate the situation the more radicle our action will be.  Most people seem to have a fight mentality when we are in a corner.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 32, we read that Jerusalem was threatened by the Assyrian army, a horrible group of men, who had no respect for mankind, and they had no fear of God.  This army would first send tablets into a town they were set on over taking.  These tablets showed detail pictures of how they were planning on torturing their captives in savage ways, which struck ultimate fear in their hearts.  The people of Jerusalem knew for sure life was all over.  There was only one thing they could do,

pray.

King Hezekiah, joined by the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz, responded by praying, calling up to heaven. God answered by sending an angel who wiped out everyone in the Assyrian camp, both warriors and officers. Sennacherib was forced to return home in disgrace, tail between his legs. When he went into the temple of his god, his own sons killed him. 2 Chr. 32:20-21 (MSG)

You pray.  You commit the situation to God and then you wait.  That’s right.  There are times when you have to trust God, like in Psalms 46:10a

“Be still, and know that I am God…”

It’s hard not to do anything.  My wife has been stuck in the Philippines for several months now.  She is done with the immigration process and only needs her interview at the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  It’s difficult to be separated for so long. It hurts!.  I have tried everything I could think of, but nothing has happened.  I surrendered it to God, I’m being still.  Another version of this verse says, “Stop striving…”  That is what I have had to do.

In 2 Chr. 32 above, it says they prayed, and God answered, and sent one angel who wiped out the entire army.  God may need to send more than one angel to deal with the U.S. government, (kidding) but I do know the answer to my prayer is on the way.

Whatever situation you may be facing, painful, dreadful, frightening, or whatever, pray.  Give it to God and then be still and watch him answer as He sees fit to do so.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.