Welcome to the Greene Street Letters. It has become my venue for sharing what is going on at Vineyard Recovery Church. Don't let the word Church scare you. The Greene Street Letters is a daily posting to simply say that there is more to life than what you see. More to life than "stuff". My simple take of 60+ years of following Jesus. Some days were good days...some days I managed to get off in the ditch. He is worthy of the pursuit, so that is what I do........I pursue Jesus in everything I do. Not the Jesus of the church. Not the Jesus of the denomination. Nothing wrong with those things, but Jesus is so much more. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you return from time to time to stop and ponder your own relationship with Jesus. God on you....mb

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hebrews On The Barbie---

I have always loved the story of Daniel and the three Hebrew men: Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego.
Snatched up from their home and their country by a foreign government. Taken to a land with strange customs and rituals that seemed to go against everything they stood for or believed.
About the only thing they had going was the fact that God gave them favor with the king. I guess you could teach a whole week on that simple fact alone. When God gives you favor, even in your most darkest times, He will protect you and see you through.

I'm sure that living in Babylon was not part of the future these four had mapped out, but the sin of Israel brought down the judgment of God. God had repeatedly warned Judah and Israel to repent and turn from their sins. The warning fell on deaf ears. Sin continued. This went on for a period of time until God's patience had been exhausted, so judgment came. Ta!DA!....The monster of monster's, king Nebuchadnezzar shows up with the Babylonian Army to take names. Point....Set....Match....everyone get on the bus, we're headed to Babylon....next stop..your new home.

Well, Daniel and his posse seemed to fit in and had made a niche for themselves, even finding favor with the king and all the people who hung around the palace. But as you would have it, the king went a little crazy. Some of the people that ran with him convinced him to build a statue of himself so that everyone in the country could worship him. It's bad enough when you have an ego..but couple that ego with all the power and authority that a king possesses and you've got a nuclear problem. Old "Neb" loved the idea of seeing himself 60' high, all gleaming and shining in the midday sun. So let it be written, so let it be done...we got us a statue.

Now the ruling gang of Babylon came up with the idea that everyone should fall down and worship the statue of ol' king Neb at different points during the day. So the conscripted a band to come up with a catchy tune that, when played, would let the folk of the kingdom know it was worship time. Simple huh? Hear the tune....get down on your face....worship. How hard is that? Well, it's seems like it was a pretty hard thing for the three Hebrews..remember them? Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego. Since they were servants of the Most High, Real Deal, Creator of the Universe, God...they weren't not about to do any face-laying, worship type stuff to ol' king Neb's statue. Was not going to happen.

You know that it was bound to happen. Those who served God were going to come into conflict with the kingdom of darkness.......and it did.
Beautiful Babylonian day...sun shining bright....cool breezed blowing in.....wonderful day to worship a false idol, image of ol' king Neb. The band was in rare form, so that at the appropriate time, they cut loose with the "Worship The King" Suite. People every where fell down to their faces and began the whole, "You are worthy, king Neb...you are worthy." Something was wrong with the picture...there were three men who were not down on their faces worshipping. The band leader thought maybe they hadn't heard the tune..so they took it around for one more chorus. Still standing. What's wrong with these guys? Didn't they get the memo? Hear music....fall down...worship. How hard is that?

To make a long story short, the three radical, right wing, Hebrews were arrested and taken before the king.
It was not a good day to be taken to the king, he was dealing with problems left and right and now here were three Hebrews who didn't get the whole worship-me thing. Threatening them with being thrown into a furnace which, by the way, will put a damper on any future you might have or be considering if your are the throw-ee and not the thrower. Fire, hot, burn, flames.......dead.
I've written all of this to get to this point. I love the answer the three Hebrews gave the king.
"Oh king, if that be the case (that you want to kill us) our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, And He will deliver us from the from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods. Nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
In other words....(you've got to love this)....
Our God is able to deliver us....
But if He doesn't, He is still God.
Now that is some hardcore, backbone belief.
No matter what you are going through today...
No matter how it appears or what it may be like, rest in the knowledge and love that no matter the outcome, God is still God and He is still in control.
I believe that Dog will hunt.

Cut to the end of the story....
The three Hebrews are thrown into the furnace...
Babylonians can't count because when they look into the flames, they see four men instead of three. Get this...Jesus shows up with the Hebrew three.....
This is the kings answer to the question...three or four.
"I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God!" Jesus done busted up all in that Babylonian Bar-b-que.
God is still God...
Don't let the enemy, a.k.a. the devil, rob you of this incredible truth.
Get it all down inside of you so you can draw strength from it when the clouds roll in and the storms come.
God is in control.

God on you....

Here's Johnny Cash singing about the 4th man in the fire....

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