Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holmes on Homes

                As I read the scriptures in Hosea 14:8-9 quoted below, the phrase from (v 8) “…I am like a green fir tree..,”  a simile of being like a tree is given, and I immediately think of bearing fruit for the Lord.

John 15:4-5  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  (5)  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

As we abide, [having claimed Jesus as our personal Saviour, He is our “building code”] in Christ, we will produce fruit.  The “abiding” is the problem.  Are we abiding in Him, and are we a part of the Vine? 
              To answer this question, we as individuals are required to search our hearts, our mind, and our souls, and make a personal judgment as to where we each stand.  As Mike Holmes (on a HGTV show called, “Holmes on Homes”) would ask, “Did you get building permits?” I believe, for some this search might be a grievous search, with revelations that cut to their core, to their foundation.  In our search, we must find that our foundation is sure, and we have secured a good foundation built on Jesus.  However, we may find that “our dwelling place” that is built on that sure foundation is as a “codeless” fruit, a fruit, but tasteless, nearing a rotten stage.  The revelation that we had built our home on Christ’s foundation was and is a good thing.  However, when we began “remodeling” our home, (on Christ’s foundation,) a lot of me, myself, and I, with a big dash of pride may have been “lopped in” on top.
              The solution to our problem is likened unto that TV show.  Where we have allowed “remodelers” in, (without proper credentials who intentionally violate code), who have changed our doctrine (that code wasn’t important), led us down a path where we lacked knowledge, we just followed along “hoping” we would get the correct result.
              In our search of what we are, we each might find we have allowed a strange “building code” to change our direction.  We may see that our music has changed, and our Bible is no longer a King James Bible.  The one we are using may have had Jesus removed.
              The problem is “…for the ways of the LORD are right …” We will find when we have established that “sure foundation,” we will be walking in His ways. 
              Now, in our search, where are you?  If you have found you are lacking, now is the time for repentance, a time of restoration, a time of putting things “back to code,” (…the ways of the Lord,..) getting yourself back on track, getting your Bible right, getting your music, your dress (modest), all back to a proper “building code.”  In order to accomplish this, it requires that you personally get back to “…the ways of the LORD …”                          Bro. John R. E Chastain

Hosea 14:8-9  Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found.  (9)  Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Knee Time

                As I read the scriptures in Luke 11:1-4 quoted below, the phrase from (v 1) “…Lord, teach us to pray,…” has caused me to think about our “Bible Education.”  As a Pastor, I wonder, “have I taught folks to pray, or have I missed the mark, and looked the other way concerning prayer?”
              Prayer is our only channel to God.  We receive this through the Holy Spirit which is given to us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.  Without the Holy Spirit, we have no connection with God.  (We are alone and the devil is our only companion.)
              I would like to ask the reader: “Do you pray?”  I want to qualify my question.  Do you pray in the morning when you start the day?  Do you pray during the day, for your food, for others, and concerning your sins?  Do you pray before bedtime, for all the reasons in the previous questions?  Are your prayers only during the hard times?  When all is good, do you spend time thanking God for His mercy?
              I assure you, no one will comply 100%.  We may get close, and we may try hard to take the time to speak to the Lord, but the real question is, “how much Knee Time” do you give the Lord?   Do you honestly, sincerely devote time talking to the Lord on a daily basis?  We want the Grace, Mercy, and Blessings of God.  However, are we willing to invest time from our worldly lives to talk to Him?

Luke 10:27  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
              So if you cannot say you pray often and with a sincere heart, then how strong is your love for “…the Lord our God..?”  Where have you put your heart, your soul, your strength, and your mind?  So, where do you stand with God?  Are you missing His blessings?  Are you concerned that He might have turned His back on you?  If so, it might be that you have turned your back, your love, heart, soul, and strength to something else. 
              When it comes down to God, and you and me, God is not the problem. We are.  We as Christians need more physical time in prayer and less time in being taught to pray.  Go to God and speak to Him from your heart, and experience God in prayer. Bare your soul to Him.  Give Him your all, after all that is all He wants.

Bro. John R. E Chastain

Luke 11:1-4  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  (2)  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  (3)  Give us day by day our daily bread.  (4)  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trusting In The Lord

              When I read Psalms 4:4-8 quoted below, several ideas concerning this bulletin article came across my mind.  However, the phrase on the cover, “Trust in the Lordis what stuck most prevalent in my mind.
            Do notice it isn’t just “…Trust in the Lordit is “…put your Trust in The Lord.  It is a statement for us to take action.  It is something we as Christians are supposed to do.  Sometimes our biggest problem is our resistance to the Holy Spirit.  We are of the concept, “I can do it on my own, I don’t need the help of the Holy Spirit, nor at this particular juncture do I need God.
            The very first phrase tells us to “Stand in awe, and sin not...  We are also told to “…commune with our heart…  Look at where you stand, and ask yourself, do I “Stand in awe,..” of God?  Have I put my trust in the Lord?  These questions are what we need to ask of ourselves.  How often do I question myself?  Most question themselves daily, others maybe weekly or monthly.
            When we find ourselves lost in the wilderness of the world, we then are asking, “Who will show us any good?  Then, when all is lost, nearly lost, or totally out of control, we then seek God through the Holy Spirit.  We ask the Lord for the plenty He has been giving, more of the plenty He has already bestowed upon us.
            God then rescues us, puts the gladness of heart within us that we seek, and we relish in His goodness, and He allows us a restful sleep, and a peaceful dwelling.
            We, like the Jews of the Exodus wilderness, learn our lesson but eventually turn our backs on God repeatedly.  The wonderful part about God is His Grace and continual Mercy.
            We work and build reward, only to turn our backs on Him and lose reward.  We as Christian’s need to plant our heart on the foundation laid down by Jesus, and secure ourselves to Him, and work to keep putting “…your trust in The Lord.

Bro. John R. E Chastain

Psalms 4:4-8  Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.  (5)  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.  (6)  There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.  (7)  Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.  (8)  I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

The God of Hope

            As I read our scripture below, the phrase “The God of Hope” is a name for God.  It helps me realize what He has really given me.   He has given me Hope, Hope of souls saved, and Hope that knowing one day God will call me home to that “Home of Hope” that is waiting for me.  That Hope is the joy and peace of understanding my Christ died on that “Old Rugged Cross” just for me, not for me alone, but for all those who will call on His name in belief.

(John 3:16)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

            God gave “…His only begotten Son…” because He loves us.  He wanted us to have that hope and know that through the gift of His Son’s blood on that cross, that we know He is the “God of Hope.”  He is The Living God, the God who embraces us with The Holy Ghost, a gift given when we call on Jesus’ name in sincere belief.  We do not receive the Holy Ghost (Spirit) for any other reason.  The Holy Spirit was given to us to be the “Comforter” when Jesus ascended into the Heavens.  It is the source of our Hope, our Joy, and our Peace.  It is through the Holy Spirit we are taught. He teaches, we learn.
            So many times I have heard, “When I came into this church (or another church) I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit.”  It isn’t that the church building has the Holy Spirit, it is the “Church” which contains the Holy Spirit. (The people are the church.)  It is our Hope, our Joy and our Peace which is given to us through the Holy Spirit (Ghost).
            Do I feel the Holy Spirit?  Yes at times, yet salvation is given by faith and faith is belief with knowledge.  If you don’t have the knowledge, your faith is likely weak.  It may be because of weak church attendance, or because of seldom reading or not reading your Authorized Bible.  If you want to feel the Holy Spirit, get involved with God’s work, (not earning your salvation,) but working the salvation you have.  Read your Bible, attend a church which preaches the Bible, teaches the Bible, and one that is concerned for your soul.  Attend a church that is concerned that your soul might be headed straight for Hell, and through Bible teaching will get you off that road, and get you on a secure protected Highway to Heaven.

Bro. John R. E Chastain

Romans 15:13-14  Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.  (14)  And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Peace I Leave With You

      If we are paying attention to the happenings in our world, Peace seems to be the future conquest of some, whereas, conquest of others is the desire of others.  We as Americans are striving for Peace, Peace of this world.  Recently, former President Carter traveled to talk to those whose journey is conquest of others.  He went to talk to them concerning Peace of the world.  President Carter as a Baptist Christian ought to know that the Peace of this world is something that will not come about this side of the Rapture.
      However, in the scripture John 14:23-29 quoted below, Jesus is telling us about another Peace, not the Peace of this world.  How many times must He tell us the world will hate us because we love Jesus?  Jesus is talking to us about the Holy Spirit that resides within Christians.  The Holy Spirit is our Holy Comforter.  Our Comforter gives us our Peace and assurance that we know who we are, and where we are going.
      Jesus tells us plainly if we love Him let not your heart be troubled, and rejoice because He will come again. 
      Therefore, the whole question comes down to you.  Do you have the Peace Jesus refers to in these scripture verses?  If you don’t know if the Holy Spirit resides in you, spend some time with the Lord in prayer, and get that assurance, so you will be able to rejoice, and enjoy the fruits and the blessings God gives.
      Know God loves you and the world equally.  Those who call on His Son, Jesus, will reside in the presence of God and His Son eternally. 
      Where will you reside?

Bro John R. E Chastain

John 14:23-29  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  (24)  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.  (25)  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.  (26)  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (27)  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  (28)  Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.  (29)  And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Hope Of Glory

                As I read the scriptures in Colossians 1:24-27 quoted below, the first thought I had was that the “Glory of God” is Jesus the Christ, God’s only begotten Son.
            Then when I reread (v 27) and saw the word “mystery,” my “thinker” started working.  What is the “mysterywhich is made visible [manifest] to His saints [born again believers] of the “Hope of Glory?”   
              First, our “hope” is our knowing what we are as a Christian.  Knowing that we are born again and that Heaven is our home is our first step in our “Hope of Glory.”  This knowledge relates to knowing, “If you died today, this very moment, you would reside in heaven with God the Father and His only begotten son, Jesus the Christ.”
            So then, our “Hope” is in our faith “which is Christ in you” which is the “mystery” that Paul is talking about.  Paul is revealing something, which (in his time) was an unknown.  The thought that God, through the Holy Spirit, would actually reside within a person was a conceptual mystery.  Through our knowledge of Jesus, (from His Word,) this mystery has been revealed to us.  Now we know we are the temple, and through the Holy Spirit, we are taught.  I like to think of the Holy Spirit as my conscience and allow my conscience to be my guide. 
            Being guided by the Holy Spirit, we are to exhort [comfort, invite, pray with/for] one another.  As children of Christ, we are brethren, brothers, and sisters through the blood of Christ.  We are to love one another as loving siblings, not quarrelsome children. 
            Be a helper and be sure others see the “Christ in you” through your works, not prideful boastful works, but works for the Lord.

Bro John R. E Chastain

Colossians 1:24-27  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:  (25)  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  (26)  Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:  (27)  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Who Is My Neighbor?

               As I read the scriptures in Luke 10:29-37 quoted below, I first pondered on (v 36), the phrase  …he that showed mercy on him.  However, the more I studied I felt the need to go back to the original question, ‘…who is my neighbor?  I am afraid that most of us would consider, from our modern definition of neighbor, only those living immediately around our home, (our Next door neighbor.)
              Yet, as Jesus defines neighbor, a neighbor is whoever is “Next to you” at any given time.  So, that could be that elderly gentleman or gentle lady that needed help opening the door.  On the other hand, it could be that person you talked to at Thrift Way or the “Mall.”  It could be that Soldier walking down the street you just passed by.  In all these cases, they are “Next to you neighbors.”  Our spouses, our children, grandchildren, and all other relatives are also “our neighbors.”
              So now we have a better definition of neighbor.  However, there is still a portion we haven’t included.  It is, “…He that showed mercy on him.  So our definition is complete.  When we apply our definition, our neighbor becomes those in which we have shown mercy.
              Have you told “all you have met” about the marvelous Mercy, and the wondrous Grace, (our Lord and Saviour Jesus?)  Have you told them how to receive that Mercy and His Grace?  Have you told them of the mansion He has built for you?  Have you told them about Jesus, His saving Grace, His Amazing Grace?  Have you told them?  If not, then what kind of neighbor are you?
              Jesus tells us to follow His Commands.  He tells us in Mark 16:15 … Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  We as Christians, born again believers, are to help spread the Gospel.  None is exempt.  We are all under the command of “…Go ye …” However, we tend to forget this the moment we leave Church.  When we read it in our Bible, we believe it is for someone else.  If you have claimed Jesus the Christ as your Saviour, these, and all those other hard to take verses are for you.
              It is time for us to “recognize our neighbors,” and get busy with the business of the Lord.  Let us be found working “till” Jesus comes.  Amen

Bro John R. E Chastain

Luke 10:29-37  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?  (30)  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  (31)  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  (32)  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  (33)  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  (34)  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  (35)  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  (36)  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  (37)  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Will of God

                As I read the scriptures in 1 Peter 2:13-17 quoted below, verse 15 caught my attention.  In order to see the context we must also read:

1 Peter 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

              As a Christian, our works for God are the fruit that defines what kind of Christian we are.  If we work to enlist souls into the Army of God, and do other good works, (not prideful, glory seeking works) but works from a sincere broken heart for the souls of man, (when we are called home to our reward,) we will “glorify God in the day of visitation.
              We as saved born again Christians, and as servants of God are what constitutes the root of this Church (with Jesus the Christ as our Head.)  The strength of this Church is derived from the strength of its works. 
              We cannot be more concerned in feeding families physical food than we are about where their soul may reside on that “…day of visitation.  If we present the Gospel as we give physical nourishment to families, we are also giving the nourishment of “God[‘s]…living water.

John 4:10  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

              So the question is, what kind of works are you doing for God?  God clearly defines that His Works are to be done by Christians.  Without Jesus the Christ as your personal Saviour, you are not a Christian.  Consequently, that “day of visitation” will be clearly different for you.  As a Christian, you will stand before Jesus and He will judge your works, but those who have not accepted Jesus will stand before God, and He will judge you for your sins. 

Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  (9)  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

There is an old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.  In terms of our scripture, you cannot accept God and refuse Jesus.  You cannot do “good works” for entry into Heaven without the Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ.
              Are you a repented born again Christian, or a “I hope I will make it to Heaven” type person?  “Hope” will not get you to Heaven.  Only Jesus our Lord can get you there.  Accept Jesus and be freed from the chains of sin that bind you and keep you out of Church.  Accept Jesus with a true, sincere heart, ask Him to forgive you, and from deep within your heart, ask God to help you repent of all your sins.

Bro John R. E Chastain

1 Peter 2:13-17  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  (14)  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  (15)  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  (16)  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  (17)  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Stand In Awe of Him

              When I read the scripture Psalms 33:8-12 quoted below, I think of our Congress.  I remember a few days after 9/11 they were on the steps of Congress singing “God Bless America.”  How quickly they forget.  Unfortunately, how quickly we forget.  We have put the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I and II, along with Korea, Viet Nam, our Constitution and our Declaration of Independence all are in the waste can of forgotten memories.
              All we as citizens can remember is what is going on today and we, as a nation and as a citizen, have never learned a single lesson from our history.  Instead of a country built on the will of the people, with God’s Law in our hands.  We now have a country solely created for me, myself, and I.  It doesn’t matter if what is being done today to solve our economic woes, has never worked in the past, just send me, myself, and I our check. 
              We have gotten so far away from God as a nation, and as a people, we are so self-centered on ourselves, that nothing else matters.
              Our only fear is my space is not violated, regardless of whose space I violate.  We listen to the guru’s of the world, Dr. Phil and Oprah and so many others who tell us it certainly is all for me, myself, and I.
              Where is our fear of the Lord?  It is His counsel we need to seek, His counsel is a forever counsel.  God’s counsel isn’t based on a Freudian principle, a principle from a perverted psychiatrist, it is His solid counsel.  Something you and I can lean on, something you and I can count on, with no doubts and no costs.
              Stand in awe of God, He is what built this country, He is what puts the food on our table. He is what blesses us in spite of ourselves.

(Deuteronomy 6:5)  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

(2 Chronicles 7:14)  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

            If we love our God as we should, then we know to stand in awe of Him.  This 4th of July I hope and pray you have stopped to consider what God has done for us and realize the blessings He alone has bestowed up on you.

Bro. John R. E Chastain

Psalms 33:8-12  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.  (9)  For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.  (10)  The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect.  (11)  The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.  (12)  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.