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.

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.