The Valley, the Bridge, and the Other Side

Charlie 126A long, long time ago, there was a beautiful place where a man, and woman lived in peace.  It was like they lived in a garden.  They tended to its needs, but it wasn’t work.  One of their task was to name things, since they were the first residents of this wonderful place.  They enjoyed it and looked forward to Mondays, their first day back to work, after a day of rest.  They would walk and talk to each other, and at certain times of the day they had the privilege of getting to spend time with the Creator of their home.  They loved those moments, and sought out to be in the Creator’s presence.  Life was good.

Then one day, the woman was walking around by herself when an uninvited guest showed up.  He was tall, and had a slender build.  His approach to the woman was stealth like.  His appearance was like a morning star.  She was intrigued from the first moment she laid eyes on him.  Then, when he opened his mouth and spoke, she was captivated by his apparent wisdom.

His words were convincing.  “The Creator doesn’t mean you will actually die if you make a choice to do what you want to do.  I mean, after all, it’s your life.  Don’t you have the right to do what you want?  I do what I want, and I haven’t died.”

The woman thought about it, and even though it felt wrong, to disobey the Creator, she took what she lusted for.  She stole, what wasn’t hers, and ate it.  In that moment the earth quaked, but appeared to be okay.  Now the uninvited guest had seduced her into working for him.  “Why don’t you take one to your husband?  I’m sure he will want to taste the sweetness of knowing good and evil.”

She did as she was told.  At first, he was shocked to learn of her actions.  “Woman!  What have you done?”  He turned away, and wouldn’t look at her.  She, now having knowledge of her nakedness, used her body, to entice him in thinking about joining her, and to take a bite from the delicious looking fruit.

She said, “Having knowledge is good, I feel powerful.”

He was interested and soon opened up his eyes, that moments before had been shut tight.  He took a bite and while he was saying, “You’re right.  This is good, and wow, you look good also,” their homeland shook very hard and they fell.  They got scared and hid.  They didn’t know then the consequences of their selfish actions.  The uninvited guest wasn’t too far away, laughing.

#

It didn’t take them long to learn why the earth shook so violently the previous day.  As they were walking around the next morning, they came to the edge of a deep, and wide valley.  They knew it was not there the day before.

“So this is why the earth was trembling yesterday,” said the man.

They could not see the bottom of the valley, and rising out of it was hot, sulfur smelling air.

It was difficult, but they could see the other side of the valley.  As they were checking it out, they both spotted who they believed to be the Creator, but wasn’t positive.  They could hear a sound that might have been a voice calling out to them, but was unable know for sure.  They looked to their left, and to their right, hoping to see a bridge.  None.  They saw no way to cross the valley.  It was too deep for them to climb down, and besides the heat rising was almost unbearable.  It was then, the realization of the situation hit them; they were separated from the Creator.  Grief set in.

They walked around for days, trying to figure out how this happened.  They missed the Creator.  They missed his presence.  They missed his love, his encouragement, and his humor too.  The man and the woman started retracing the events that led up to the earth rumbling, shaking, and to the days before the valley appeared.

The woman, with sadness on her face, looked at the man, and said, “Everything was fine until the day I disobeyed the Creator, and ate the fruit, of the tree of good and evil.”

“You’re right!  Ah!  How could we not have realized that?”  Asked the man.  Then sadness set in for they now knew what their actions had done.

Over the next few years, they tried to build their own bridge to get to the other side.  To once again be reunited, with the Creator, but all of their efforts failed.  Even their attempt to be good and never eat of that tree again was not enough to make the valley go away.  They concentrated on their efforts to reach the Creator so much, their garden, turned into a jungle.  It became chaos and a mess, so they left with only their memories of what once was.  Their relationship too became over grown with hurts, accusations, and resentment.

“How could have disobeyed the Creator?” Asked the man.

“Where were you?  How come you weren’t there to protect me?” Asked the woman.

The man and the woman accepted this was their new life.  The uninvited guest was so happy.

#

As time went on, the population grew, many tried their own way to build a bridge to reach the other side.  Some found it impossible to believe that there ever was a Creator.  They had never seen him, so they thought the story of him was made up.  A story made up to control their behavior.  All they cared about was living how they wanted.  Many, so called, “experts”, thought their way to believe was best.  Each one found people to join their group, and follow them.  Soon, there were many different groups one could join.  Most decided on a group because it lined up with how they wanted to live.

On the other side, the Creator could see, and he could hear the pain the people were in.  He never wanted this for them.  He gave them a beautiful place to live.  He too, in the beginning, enjoyed walking and talking to the people he made.  Oh, how he wished they had not disobeyed him in the first place.  When he made them he gave them free will, so it would be their choice to join his group and follow him.  After all, he only gave them two commandments, and they violated one of them, causing the great valley between them.  He had seen enough.

“Son, I know you are aware of what is taking place on the other side.  The people are living their lives as they want.  They are hurting each other.  There is so much pain, and so many tears.  They need hope,” said the Creator.

“Yes, Father.  I have seen, and I have heard their cries.”

“You know what has to be done don’t you?”  Asked the Creator.

“Yes, I do.  I was wondering when you were going to bring up the subject,” said the Son.  “I will do it.  I’ll be obedient to you, I’ll be the sacrifice for them, and I’ll be the one to defeat sin, and death.”

“You are willing to lay down your life, to be a bridge, so that we can once again be together?”  Asked the Creator.

“Yes, for there is no other way,” said the Son.

“Okay.  I’ll make all the necessary arrangements.”

#

The Creator did, he sent his Son to the other side, but in a form, those who believed, never imagined, as a baby.  His Son was looked after and taken care of, and when it was time, he revealed who he was, and why he came to the other side.  Many found it hard to believe, because they had not heard from the Creator in so many years.  The Son said he was going to build a bridge in three days that would span the valley.  Most did not believe his truth either.  Their natural minds could not accept the plan, because they compared it to their reality.  No one had even come close to reaching the other side.

Three years the Son walked around sharing the plan.  He also did many signs and wonders and that convinced some, because it reminded them of the stories they had been told of the Creator.  Others, from the powerful groups, who had the most to lose, if he was right, hated him, and wanted his message to go away, but the only way they could figure out how to do that was to make him go away.  They plotted, and came up with lies about him, and got the people to hear their words, and believe them.  They had their support, so they took the Son to court, and the courts knew it was not right, but was afraid of the people, and gave them what they wanted.

They killed the Son, but on the third day, after he had died, they got up and found a bridge that spanned the valley.  Yes, the Son had kept his word.  He built a bridge with wood and nails, and with the power of the Creator’s Spirit,.  Now anyone, who accepts the Son, is from the Creator, can walk across the bridge over the valley, and once again, be united with God, the Creator of it all.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

 

WARNING!

Charlie 106Here in the Philippines, they print pictures on the packages of cigarettes, that show what could happen if you smoke.  Is it effective?  I don’t know, but I don’t see a lot of smoking going on.  Of course that could be due to the cost of cigarettes.

God told us, in his word, what would happen if you sin – death!  Is it effective?  I don’t know, because I see a lot of people sinning, including me from time to time.  God also showed us what our sin cost – the death of his only Son, Jesus.  You can pay for your sins, or accept Jesus’ payment.  It’s up to you.

”For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God [that is, His remarkable, overwhelming gift of grace to believers] is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23 AMP)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Strength Helping Weakness

Charlie 80The words break free of my mouth, before I can think them through,
before I remember, the words of God, that tells, of the damage they will do.
As the last word, in the long ranting, damaging train does its part,
the sorrow, the remorse is already being felt inside my heart.

I don’t want to hurt, and I certainly don’t want to be mean as well,
so why then do I do this over and over again?  Can you tell?
If only there was some way to stop, and think, before I spoke,
then perhaps, the other person, wouldn’t feel as if they’re being choked.

I pray, and ask God to forgive, and then to help me not to do,
I feel better as if it will never happen again, and I will never again hurt you.

I know the great apostle Paul struggled as well.  In 2 Cor. 12:7-10,
He told us that Satan did his best to get him down again.
He begged God to remove this thorn in his flesh,
but God only replied “My grace is enough.” In other words, rest.

Then, “My strength comes into its own in your weakness” so let it be,
so Paul accepted it, realizing that when he is weak, “God works in me!”

So the truth is, on my own, I will never overcome,
but when I am weak, God and I, can become one.
Then, in that moment, before I speak, God’s power will take over,
my response will be of love and peace, and His grace will bring closure.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

My Rights

20171209_162330“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

Above is the “Miranda Rights”, which you have heard on TV or in a movie.  In heaven, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, these rights will go something like this:

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in the court room of heaven by Satan. You have a right to an attorney. You cannot afford the One True Attorney, but He, Jesus, will be appointed for you.”

Jesus, has already paid the full penalty, death, for your wrong doing.  Case dismissed.  You are free to go.

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Enough?

charlie 3When is enough, enough?  Have you had it with an individual, or a workplace?  What about a country?  You scream so loud on the inside you’re surprised that dogs don’t howl!  Why do people, work rules, or a countries procedures have to be ridiculous?  If they made sense, or had a justifiable reason behind them, then fine, so be it.  For someone to say, “But that’s the rule,” or “that’s the way it is,” over and over doesn’t help either.  It hurts, beating your head against the wall repeatedly, trying to find a sliver of logic to it all when the truth is, there is none!

I imagine there will come a day, when God says to his Son, “Enough.”  God is patient, and long suffering, but He too can only take so much.  He did it in the days of Noah, and with Sodom and Gomorrah.  Jesus will know what his Father is saying is, “Go, and bring my people home.  Deliver them from the sin, the injustices, from the insanity, from those who “think” they are in control, the hypocritical, from those that oppress, and from the work of the evil one.”  Jesus will stand up and make his way to earth, and the trumpet will sound.

“But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 MSG)

Be encouraged.  The way this world is going where right is wrong, and wrong has become right, it won’t be long before God will say, “Enough!”

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Confessing Sin

charlie 3I am guilty of expecting perfection of others.  I know, it’s wrong.  When someone disappoints me and I express it, they are instantly hurt to the core.  I hate it when I do it, because I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially the ones I love.

I am trying, by asking God to help me replace expectation with mercy.  Then, when one makes a mistake, I will express mercy, and they will feel love.  Our Heavenly Father does this very thing for us.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36 NIV)

Copyright © 2019 Mark Brady.  All rights reserved.

Your View

Jesus 1

“Jesus” by Titus (age 6)

Your view of Jesus has a lot to do with how close you are to him.  Is your knowledge of the Son of God first hand, or secondary?  Do you look at him from above, therefore looking down on him?  Or is your perspective from his side, as if equal?  Perhaps one should look at Jesus from the foot of the cross.  Feeling crimson forgiveness of sin drip on you.  Hearing deep gasps of air as he spoke his last words.  Smelling the stench of death waiting in the wings to take him.  Watching the Savior of the world, arms opened, exhibiting love, even in death.

He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?” (Mat 16:15 MSG)

This is the truth about who Jesus is; He is the Son of God, the only one born of a virgin, who fulfilled 400 prophesies concerning the Messiah, who healed the sick, the lame, the hurting, who spoke truth, and was without sin, therefore being the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, who died and was resurrected three days later whether this is your view or not.

We will all stand before Jesus one of these days, and he will ask us the same question, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”

 Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

Forgiveness

Boulder 1Exhibiting true forgiveness, allows you to be in the presence of the one you forgave.  The same goes for God.  That is why accepting Jesus, for the atonement of our sins, is so important.

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved

The Confession

20180618_161958Confession:  I have never been inside a confessional booth.  I grew up in a church where doing so was not part of our spiritual practice.  I am at a temple where there is one.  I am writing this blog post while sitting inside it.  Not intended, but in order to see I brought a small, but bright LED light.  It is casting such a white glow I think it scared a couple checking out the temple.

Here I sit, in this small, wooden structure.  It smells old, musty, perhaps from tears soaking the carpeted board beneath my feet.  There is carpet on the walls as well.  I guess to absorb the sound, but aren’t confessions meant to be heard?

I think there is also supposed to be a man in the booth next door.  A man to hear my sins?  My wrong doing?  What if he is actually a newspaper reporter?  Wait, when Jesus died on the cross, didn’t his selfless act of love cut out the middle man?  After all, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  The veil that once separated man from God.  Now Jesus is our High Priest.

I guess while I am in here I might as well start talking.  Heavenly Father bless me.  It has been 23 minutes since my last confession.  You remember.  Oh, you don’t?  Then maybe I should choose to forget it also.

Now, I confess all my sins.  The ones that denied you, dissatisfied you, destroyed me and demolished others.  The sins that dishonored you, discomforted you.  The ones that would disqualify me from your presence, if it were not for your Son.  The sins that diminished others, disgruntled my employers, and devalued my wife and children.  And don’t forget the one that deflowered me before I was with the proper one at the proper time.  The ones that delayed me from being obedient unto you and your plans.  I also confess the times I digested things that defiled my body, your temple.  The words I spoke that derailed others on track to finding you.  The times my actions denounced you.  The sins that I allowed that wound up discouraging me and damaging my faith.

Forgive me Father.  I ask for your mercy and grace.  Thank you for not deleting my name from your Book of Life.  Thank you for forgiveness, and for your Son, Jesus who gives life through his death.

Now what do I do Lord God?  “Go and sin no more.”

Copyright © 2018 Mark Brady, All rights reserved