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

Monday, February 20, 2017

Cleaning Out The Old House----Forgiveness


Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace.
I played a worship song during our very first meeting of Vineyard Recovery. Not your typical feel-goose-bumps-love-you-Jesus song, but rather a gut wrenching, let's get real, down to the raw, kind of worship song. But it was one that I felt led of God to play, in order to set the tone for what we are trying to do on Saturday nights. Be real...Be transparent.....and be honest with God--ourselves--and each other.

Suzy Yaraie (Pictured above) was the composer and worship leader singing this particular song and from the very beginning the words tell you that this isn't going to be like any song you may have heard before. it isn't about unicorn's-puppy dogs- sunshine and lollipops. The life that lived this song had been touched by the love and mercy of God. The very first words of the song are:

"I killed my children.........You forgot that."
"My fornication.......You forgot that."
"My prostitution.....You forgot that."
"I left my husband....You forgot that."

She goes on to talk about her addiction. Her worship of idols. How she stole God's glory and trampled on it through her lifestyle.
Like I said, it wasn't your typical worship song.
But here in those brutal words of truth lies the incredible power of God.

How could someone sing those words about their own life unless they truly had experienced the forgiveness of God?
How could a person lay themselves bare and reveal things that, in church, you're not suppose to talk about. If you do talk about it, it is in the context of speaking about someone other than yourself.

Yet here in this declaration of her past, Suzie goes down her life revealing each sin and wrong she has committed against God. As you listen to her voice, you don't hear pain or regret. You hear the voice of someone who has been forgiven and healed from all the damage that sin has brought to them. You hear a voice of gratitude for all that God has done for her, and to her.

This is the thing I want you to hang on to this morning.
Memories are forever.
They don't go away.
They don't fade over time.
They will pop up for no reason at the most inopportune times.

When they do, they usually bring what I refer to as the toxic emotions of shame and guilt.
Here is where the power of God comes into play.
How can Suzie sing this song and not come undone by the shame and guilt? Because her receiving the forgiveness of God has eliminated those emotions from the memory. All it is now is just a memory.
I'm sure that if she let herself, she could dredge up those emotions, but she won't.
She has been set free...
She has been given the most incredible gift of all....forgiveness.

Forgiveness all wrapped up in God's love...His mercy....His grace...and His presence in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Don't let the enemy keep you from growing in Christ by dredging up memories laced with those toxic emotions. Take everything to Christ and get rid of it....
Every foul deed you ever did...
Every curse that ever fell from your lips...
Every sexual act that you ever committed outside the boundaries of marriage.
Every bit of unbelief, doubt, and fear...
Take it all and lay it at the feet of Jesus....

Ask Him to take it, and in its place, ask Him to grant you forgiveness.
Ask Him to pour His peace over you.

Then receive it!
When the devil comes at you and tries to get you to remember all the vile things you have done....
Rest in that forgiveness.
That's some kind of good stuff...

God on you....
mb

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