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 26, 2017
I Need Truth About The "REAL" Me.
Luke 18:9 - 14
Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else. "Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a publican (Dishonest tax collector). The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: 'I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don't sin, I don't commit adultery. I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.' But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.' I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humbled will be honored."
Great Story! Jesus had a way, or rather should I say...has a way, of bringing to light the uncovered heart of mankind. He reveals the true nature of man and how deceptive and destructive the human heart truly is. The heart is the storehouse of our beliefs and the accumulation of who we truly are. Proverbs tells us that "As a man thinks...so is he." In other words, the real "ME" comes from the belief's I carry around in my heart.
Kind of weird when you think of what Jeremiah wrote in Chapter 17:9 -The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Kind of smacks in what how the world and our society (sometimes even our churches) views humanity. No one truly likes to think of themselves as being wicked or having an evil heart, but I have to keep returning to what Scripture tells me. I may not like it, but truth is truth especially when it comes to God's truth.
I think one of the greatest gifts God ever gave to me was an understanding of my own heart. By that I mean an understanding of what I am capable of without Him in my life. Such understanding makes me appreciate this gift of salvation He has given to me. I have made this statement on several occasions and it seems each time I do, it upsets some folks. Maybe they don't like to hear it because it reminds them of their own hearts. I will make the comment that within me dwells the possibility of behaving like the Apostle Peter. I have the capability of denying my Jesus! Some have told me that such things aren't possible if I have truly been saved. When I search myself and see that it is the Power of God's Holy Spirit that keeps sin at bay...that it is the blood of Jesus that has separated me unto His Kingdom and has removed me from loving this world, I understand the exact nature of depravity. As a friend told me once, "Without Jesus I'd just be an old stinking pervert!" You know what? He meant it. Without Jesus in my life, my old heart would run with every thought of evil it could produce.
I have nothing to boast of this morning except Jesus had mercy on me a sinner.
I have nothing to brag of except that today I have an understanding of what God expects of me. The Kingdom of God has been brought to me and through my salvation I have been changed from the inside out. My heart has been transformed. Maybe it's the fact that I do have an awareness of what I am capable of without Jesus that I stand like the publican....
"Have mercy on me today, Lord." It's not that I wallow in self pity or beat myself up in order to make myself feel some kind of worth. No! I fully accept God's salvation with a joyful heart. But as I am aware of God's Holy Spirit at work in me today, maybe it is He (the Holy Spirit) who reminds me of the danger of sin and how it seeks to destroy me at every turn. Sin would love nothing more than to destroy my testimony so that no one would ever listen to anything I have to say or write. Sin would love nothing more than to destroy my family, bring division and destruction. Sin would love nothing more than for me to crumble under the weight of tribulation and trials, lying there doubting and cursing God. Praise God for the love and power of Jesus, my Christ. He lifts me, spirit-body-soul, out of the muck and mire of sin. He sets me upon a solid rock where I can be who God created me to be.
Such things are why I get up every morning with a heart of gratitude that He has given me another day to be His son, to serve His kingdom and to love those around me.
God on you.....