Thursday, December 31, 2015

Wow, What A Year!

As 2015 draws to a conclusion and I actually have some time to reflect on the whirlwind that will soon conclude, I thought it expedient to share some of the experiences that rank the past dozen months as some of the most significant in our family’s life.

January started normal enough as we were hunkered down for the typical Northern Indiana winter. The Lord had blessed us in every imaginable way. We were all relatively healthy. The Lord was blessing our church and I was settled in to a job that was simultaneously personally rewarding and challenging. All of our needs were being met. In other words, we were in a comfortable place. It is in such cocoons that God ofttimes works.

Unbeknownst to only a few, I had been struggling for the past year or so with what the Lord’s will was for my ministry and subsequently, our family. I am rapidly entering the stage of life where the horizon is in sight and this caused me to become intentional about what (and where) He wanted me be with the remainder of my life in mind. While cognizant of this stirring, I wanted to be sure that whatever changes were on the horizon, it was the movement of the Lord and not merely sentiment. Therefore, I devoted much time to prayer and reflection in His word and sought the counsel of wise individuals. I was content to let the matter rest until a clearer path was opened.

The family and I were blessed to spend our Spring Break in beautiful Lake Guntersville State Park in Alabama. This was really the first extended period of quiet time that we had enjoyed since winter break. It was during this time that we earnestly started thinking about our future and praying that God would reveal His will for us in the future. This time of focused and fervent prayer was about to be answered in an incredible way!

Two takeaways from our experiences thus far is that God can (and will) shake us out of our comfort zones. Luke 12 warns us against trusting in such ease. Rather, we should always be seeking the kingdom of God and not laying up treasures for ourselves (Luke 12:31). We have definitely learned that lesson in this adventure. The Lord can mess up your nest!

We have also been astonished at the power of prayer and the miracle of God hearing and answering our feeble petitions. In Matthew 7:11 Jesus said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Our heavenly father is faithful to give us what we need when we ask! In our case, it involved opening some doors for the next chapter in our lives.

But that is another story for another day!


Michael D. Green, Jr.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Lifting Up

Image result for moses arms up
Exodus 17:8-13 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Exodus 17 presents the reader with an unusual manifestation of the Lord blessing Israel with victory over the nefarious Amalekites. As the battle ensued below, Moses stood on a hill with the rod of God. When his hands were raised, Israel had the upper hand. When they were lowered, Amalek gained the advantage. Much can be said about this passage, but I want to focus on the human aspect of this occurrance. Moses grew weary as he held up the rod of God is this battle. What might seem like a simple task became much more difficult as time passed. Thankfully, there were faithful individuals that willingly assisted him with bearing this heavy burden. if this great man of God needed the assistance of others, how much more do we?

The answer is plain. We can not go it alone in any area of life. Perhaps we can muddle our way through the inevitable challenges, but we will quickly grow weary and discouraged. We have all experienced this to some degree. I have tried to do this and miserably failed. Thankfully, God has not called us to do it all by ourselves! His word is replete with examples and instruction to come alongside and lift up one another. Notice the following passages:

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Exhortation literally means to come to another’s side to strengthen and encourage them. This is in stark contrast to the popular notion that we should take advantage of a man in his weakness. Nor does it say we are called to lecture or act condescendingly towards a weaker individual. As Aaron and Hur lovingly lifted the arms of Moses at a point of weakness during the battle, we should be willing to do the same for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Apostle Paul rightly echoed this principal when he commanded the strong to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). This is a must in every area of discipleship!


Michael D. Green, Jr.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Taking Off The Grave Clothes

 In John 11 we read of the sickness and subsequent death of Lazarus, a friend of Jesus. While Martha and Mary, Lazarus' sisters lamented the late arrival of the One who could have delivered him from his malady, our Savior used the occasion as an opportunity to show his power over death. What an opportunity it was! Our Lord spoke to the dead and stinking Lazarus and he was made alive again!

In like manner, we are changed from a state of spiritual death to life by the power of God. The same voice that cried, "Lazarus come forth" is able speak life into our stony heart. The central theme of our passage is the power of our Lord to give life. The result of this spiritual life is our ability to make changes for the better. Let us look at the command given by Jesus once Lazarus was resurrected from the dead.

John 11:43-44 KJV - And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Once life was given, Jesus instructed Lazarus grave clothes be removed. The clothing associated with death was to be removed. He that was dead was made alive by the voice of the Master. It is mere speculation on my part, but I imagine Lazarus putting on his best change of clothes after his encounter with Jesus. Perhaps he bought a new outfit to celebrate the occasion. What an experience. He who was dead was alive again.

We do not have to speculate about what should happen to us when we are born again. The Apostle Paul instructs us to take off the grave clothes and put on a new garment.

Ephesians 4:21-24 KJV - If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

The actions of the old man are simply grave clothes of a former life. Once the Spirit of God makes us alive, we ought to clothe ourselves with the garments of a disciple; those things comprised of righteousness and holiness.

As we begin a new year, we should ponder our own discipleship. What grave clothes are we still wearing of a former life. Deceit? Slothfulness? Evil speaking? Whatever it might be, may we put the off and put on the clothes of edifying and godly living. What a testimony we will be in 2015 when we imitate the life and actions of our Lord by putting on righteousness.

In Christian Love,

Michael D. Green, Jr.