Thursday, July 21, 2016

What's Behind Door # 2?'s 3:23 in the A.M. and I am awake....
In fact I woke up with this thought running rampant in my noggin...
Most of the time when such happens, it is God's way of letting me know what I should write about in the Greene Street Letters.
What was the thought?

You know how you have verses in Scripture that seem to be your favorite?
Or maybe they are what I refer to as those standards that everyone has heard.

Well, what about the verse that follows the "BIG" one that everyone has read or heard about? Such verses might shed some light into our thinking if we were to take a look. So let's do that.

I'm pretty sure that you might be familiar with Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which paths to take.
Yep, the whole "trust God first" portion of scripture. Good sound wisdom for us humans who have a tendency to go off on a journey by listening to our own council and so-called wisdom. But what about verses 7 and 8?

Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.
Wowzers! Could it be that being humble before God, and not letting my ego get the best of me is the (Dare I say it?) secret to this new life we've been wanting? Now when it says that we are to fear the Lord...that's not the kind of fear where you cower in the corner, afraid of what He might Do. Rather, it is the kind of fear that comes when you are suddenly filled with the understanding of who you are in the presence of. That this is the real-deal-God-that-I've-been-reading-about kind of fear. What's even more incredible is that such an understanding, coupled with applying it to our every day life, is a avenue in which healing comes to us. How cool is that?

Next Verse that we don't ever read or remember.
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know that plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
I have taught this verse countless times as an encouragement for those who are not real sure about this God, and the future that looms out there ahead of them.
But if you go on and read verses 13 and 14, you'll see something that is part of this understanding these plans God has for us.

"In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord. " I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land."
Two things I see in the verse. First off, in 29:11 God told us that he had plans for us..good plans. But in verse 13 and 14, we see that finding out what those plans are begins with prayer. God says, "In those days WHEN you pray".....not IF you pray He will hear us. But coupled with this praying is the idea of searching for God...expending ourselves on a quest to know Him. It's not like He is totally hidden or off somewhere in a mystic place. Finding God actually means losing yourself. Getting "ME" out of the way so that I'm not the center of my own little universe.  Notice that the verse says that we are to search for him "wholeheartedly"....not half-heartedly. What does the Big Book of A.A. tell us? Half measures avail us nothing. This truly is an all-or-nothing quest to move from our old way of living into this new realm where we are learning to pray, listen, apply what we hear.

Then there is my favorite verse written by the apostle Paul that I have been defined by....I Corinthians 2:2
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
God showed me this verse back in the beginning when I answered His call to be a pastor.
This wasn't some cute verse that  would make me look like I was spiritual or better than others. No, it was a simple verse that would define my entire scope and understanding of theology. I was to go no farther that who Jesus is, and what the cross is all about. I'm o.k. with that. Oh, there are times when I wish I could unravel the mysteries of God in my teaching, but to tell you the truth....those thoughts usually are from my flesh. Me, wanting to look like some sort of spiritual hot shot or know it all, and just ain't me.

To be honest with you, the verse that follows I Corinthians 2:2 (uh...that would be verse 3) is more in line with your's truly.
"I Came to you in weakness---timid and trembling."

I don't think I'll ever get over this one.
Every time I stand to teach, it is one of those moments where my prayer is "Oh God...Oh God....Oh God...please don't let me mess this up!"
I don't want any part of Michael to get in the way of what God is doing. It isn't about me, it's all about Him.
Somehow I hope I never get use to this or push it aside.

May I always teach from a place of desperation where I need to hear Him.
Well, it's 3:58...
Time for my first cup of coffee.
See you tomorrow.

God on you...

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