Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh How Sweet

13 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:97-104  MEM. O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.  (98)  Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.  (99)  I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.  (100)  I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.  (101)  I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.  (102)  I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.  (103)  How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  (104)  Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

            In reading scripture there are times that it is difficult for me to say God’s Word is sweet.  When God is chastising me (and He does,) I regret what I have done that causes the need for chastisement.  King David also knew of God’s chastisement.  In every case, we find King David sorrowfully repentant.  (It is those times when I recognize my sin displayed before me that I have a problem discerning “How sweet are thy words.”)
            Yet, as we delve into God’s Word looking for His Wisdom and His Direction, (with our seeking heart,) we find “How sweet are thy words.”  God never wants us to be alone, separated from Him.  That is why He has given us The Holy Bible, God’s inerrant, infallible Word.  As we read and study His Word, we can find that God will give us “more understanding than all my teachers” and in that understanding, we will grow in His Wisdom.

1 Corinthians 1:21  For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Before we accepted Jesus The Christ as our personal Saviour, our wisdom was “the wisdom of the world.”  By hearing God’s Word preached, and through individual study, we gain God’s Wisdom.

Romans 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Our individual growth in the Lord depends on faithful attendance in Sunday School and Church.  How else can we grow?  Neither you nor I can learn it on our own.  It can only be learned with the power of The Holy Spirit unto God.  Christ gave us The Holy Spirit for this very purpose, teaching us what He would want us to know.  (The Holy Spirit will not always convict us of our direction if we are not faithfully under His Word.)
            Our Psalmist (believed to be King David) through “my [his] meditation” was able to walk more closely to God.  He was able to fend off the ones who would give false testimony and temptations before him.
            We as Christians must endeavor to do as our Psalmist, and seek God’s Ways, seek His Wisdom.  In doing this, we will have a much better testimony and a much better walk.  Our “worldly wisdom” will grow toward “Godly Wisdom.”
            “Reader, are you faithfully attending “Church,” a Church that Preaches God’s Word?  Are you hearing the preaching with your heart?  Do you read your Holy Bible with the same fervor you would read a Novel?  Is your heart open to God’s Will in your life?” 
            “If you are not sure, repent of your failings today.  Ask Jesus to forgive you.  Then, (only after repenting, and prayer) get busy for the Lord.  Do His bidding, and see how mighty in His Word and Wisdom you will grow.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas   Fundamental Thoughts

Monday, November 14, 2011

Unto All Generations

12 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:89-96  LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.  (90)  Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.  (91)  They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.  (92)  Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.  (93)  I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.  (94)  I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.  (95)  The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.  (96)  I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

            Looking at the phrase, “unto all generations,” I thought of Jonah and what he preached to the City of Nineveh.  Our Bible tells us: “from the greatest of them even to the least” believed God.

Jonah 3:5  So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

Jonah’s message from God was short and to the point.

Jonah 3:4  And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

His message was: either get with God’s “program,” or be destroyed.  (It is amazing how God uses The Holy Spirit to lay conviction on the heart of man.)  Nineveh (at that time) was saved from destruction.
            Our text also tells us that God’s Salvation is “unto all generations” (not just the generation that is spared.)  Nineveh failed to follow “their Salvation.”  (Their next generations never heard about Salvation,   consequently, Nineveh was eventually destroyed.)
            Christian, there is a lesson in this for us today.  If we are honest, we may see we are not “passing our Salvation” on to our next generation.  We may be more interested in “a growing church and a pretty building.”  (And with an increased revenue and a decreased debt.)  It seems we may not be interested in Glorifying God, just in glorifying ourselves.  Christian, I am not speaking about all Churches.  However, I am not excluding your Church.
            As Christians, we need to look at our nation as a Nineveh. (Again, with an honest heart.)  I know many believe “our Nation is okay.”  However, we need “a Jonah” to preach to our Nation, (to get us back to where God has guided us.
            We as Christians stand back and watch “the minorities” destroy not only our Bible, but also our Nation.  We must be the ones who repeat Jonah’s message.  We must be certain that our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and all we meet have heard the message Jesus preached, His Gospel.
            Christian, it is our task to get ourselves back in God’s Will.  We must pray for our Church, and for our Nation.

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.

This verse is for believers, no one else.  It states, “If my people, which are called by my name.”  If our Church is becoming more liberal, (as is our nation,) we must do as the people of Nineveh.  We must accept God’s Will, and send “our” Salvation “unto all generations.”  We must put aside our pride, get to our knees, and pray.  We must pray believing that God will respond to our heartfelt prayer.  Seek Him with a repentant heart, (a heart that has turned “from their wicked ways.”)
            We can be assured, (if all Christians will follow 2 Chronicles 7:14,) God will respond in the manner we expect. 
            Have you put away your pride?  Are you on your knees begging God to help your Church, your Pastor, and our Nation’s needs?  Are you seeking God?  Are you in a Worship Service on a regular, faithful basis? 
            Christian, have you turned from your evil ways?  Now is the day, the hour.  It is time to be on your knees.

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas   Fundamental Thoughts       

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God On The Mountain

11 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:81-88  CAPH. My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.  (82)  Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me?  (83)  For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.  (84)  How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?  (85)  The proud have digged pits for me, which are not after thy law.  (86)  All thy commandments are faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.  (87)  They had almost consumed me upon earth; but I forsook not thy precepts.  (88)  Quicken me after thy lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of thy mouth.

            On occasion, I can find King David while reading this Psalm.  My King James Study Bible did not define the author.  I then searched the web and sought Jewish Theologians to find out who they considered the author to be.  All that I read came to one conclusion, the Psalm was written by King David.  Based on this conclusion, (I will presume that this Psalm was written by King David.) 
            In this writing, we see a period of time that King David was apparently depressed.  I have tried to determine when this was written.  There are several instances in King David’s life that it could have been.  My thought is some time just after Absalom (King David’s son) was killed (while King David was traveling back to his throne.)  King David was failing in health and he was at his weakest point.  Yet, through it all, his faith remained.  He begged God for a reprieve on the grief that was consuming his mind.
            There is a song that is entitled, “God On The Mountain.”  Within its lyrics we are told that the “God on the mountain is the same God down in the valley.”  King David was down in that valley, the valley of doubt.  He was fearful that God had left him as God had left King Saul.  Yet, King David knew within his heart that God would never leave him.
            How many times a year, a month, a week, or a day do we find ourselves wallowing in that valley of doubt, that valley of despair, that valley of self pity?  I can say, at least to this hour, (since I was assured of my eternal salvation,) that I have never concerned myself that God would leave me.  There have been times I was down and thought God was punishing me.  In some of those times I am sure I was receiving His chastisement.  Yet, when I look back and think about those times, I find that I was the one who “put me” in that valley.  
            In my Christian walk I have found that I am the sole source of most, (if not all,) my problems.  I am the one who “steps off” that mountain.  I am the one who responds (or doesn’t respond) to the temptations set before me.    It is Me, Myself, and I.  I am MY main and worst problem (enemy.)
            We allow our minds to consume our thoughts.  Yet, Jesus tells us He will give us “rest.”

Matthew 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

We can look at this “rest” as peace of mind.  Most of us Christians pray and ask God through His Son Jesus to absolve all our problems, and He does.  Yet, instead of letting Him take control, we begin meddling in what we just gave away.  (We then find we are still where we put ourselves, somewhere in that valley.)  How do we as Christians get that rest? 

James 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

We must first humble ourselves before the Lord.  We don’t want Him to humble us.   (That is truly not what God wants nor do any of us want.)  This is our personal commitment to draw nearer to Him, but it must be with a true, (sincere) heart. 

Hebrews 10:22  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Our heart must desire, (crave) to become nearer (in faith) knowing we are growing nearer to our Saviour.

Job 22:29  When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

Job shows us “the mountain and the valley.”  We also can see the chastisement resulting from Job’s pride.  Yet, through it all Job remained faithful, and became a humble man.  We never want “a Job experience,” but we must realize there is always that possibility.  (God humbled Job.)  God asks us to humble ourselves, remove evil from our lives, pray, and seek Him.

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.

            “Christian, what are you going to do?  Are you going to wait for “that Job experience,” or are you going to get to your knees?”  God is waiting to clear your mind and give you the “rest” or peace you desire, peace of mind.

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas   Fundamental Thoughts

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Light Of GOD

10 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:73-80  JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.  (74)  They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.  (75)  I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.  (76)  Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.  (77)  Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.  (78)  Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.  (79)  Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies.  (80)  Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed.

            As we come to know our Psalmist, we get a better insight into his heart.  He knew he was an example of imperfection, (as all Christians are,) and he knew he had failed God.  (Most likely on an hourly basis.)

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Our Psalmist begged God for the necessary understanding and wisdom he needed “to be a light” for God in this dark and dreary world.

Psalms 119:105   Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Our Psalmist understood that God had known him forever.  (Jeremiah, years later also learned this from God.)

Jeremiah 1:5  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

            We as Christians need to comprehend “the heart” of our Psalmist.  He knew he wasn’t perfect.  He knew he had “come short” and was repentant of his situation.  His greatest fear was not being “sound in thy statutes.”  He didn’t want to be “found out” and ashamed in the Sight of God, nor in the sight of the world.
            (I can relate to the Psalmist’s “fear.”)  However, my “greater fear” is that today’s Christians no longer know “shame” or that “to be ashamed” exists.  Today, if a person shows “shame,” it is because he was finally “found out.”  (He was caught.) 
            Today’s Christians no longer respect God with their best attire at Church.  It is just a “come as you are” mentality.  There is no “fear” (respect) of God.  (We want the prettiest buildings, the plushest interiors; yet, “jeans and a tee shirt” are the best we can do.)
            “The divorce rate” among Christians is nearly as high as the “world’s divorce rate.”  (A large number of these divorces involve adultery.) Whatever happened to “till death do we part?”  Where is our pride in God?  (We should be Glorifying Him.)

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Let us as Christians get back to allowing God’s Light to shine through us.  Let us remember “shame” and “embarrassment.”  Let us ask (beg) God to remind us of “His Way.”  Let us repent, get ourselves back to God, and refresh ourselves in The Holy Spirit and our Lord and Saviour Jesus The Christ.
            Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

Luke 19:10  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

He came to destroy “the works of the devil. ”

1 John 3:8  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

            We must decide following our own desires is futile.  We must search our hearts, and beg for God’s forgiveness.  In that forgiveness, (humbling ourselves before Him,) we must decide, with conviction, to repent of our ways and begin walking (as seriously and as fervently as possible) toward God’s Will.
            His Will for you and I is that we be under The Word of God, and not forsake “the assembling of the brethren.”  So, Christian, “Have I described you?  What are you going to do about it?”  Repent.  Change Today.  Walk in His Light.

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas   Fundamental Thoughts

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Where Are They?

9 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:65-72  TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.  (66)  Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments.  (67)  Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.  (68)  Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.  (69)  The proud have forged a lie against me: but I will keep thy precepts with my whole heart.  (70)  Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.  (71)  It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.  (72)  The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

            Have you ever had a day when absolutely nothing went wrong?  A day that you knew God had blessed you mightily.          A day the blessings flowed like “warm butter on a hot biscuit.”  I believe our Psalmist was telling us how God’s Blessings never stopped rolling.  (From my viewpoint, the Psalmist was notably “happy.”)  He was Praising God for all He had done.  It didn’t stop with Praise.  He continually asked God to “Teach me good judgment and knowledge… teach me thy statutes…” so he “might learn thy statutes.” 
            The thing we as Christians must understand, yes I said understand is that the Psalmist didn’t have a King James Bible sitting unread on his coffee table.  (The Psalmist was one of many writing The Word of God for us.  He was writing in Faith.)  He didn’t have The Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John to reference.  He didn’t build his Faith “on his daily reading.”  He wrote from his heart as God led him.
            Today we have a plethora of “Christian” churches all teaching “some person’s point of view.”  Supposedly, they have validated “their point” from some obscure verse in the Bible.  If they couldn’t find it their way, they created and wrote their own bible, or modified The King James Bible to agree with them.
            Where are our Psalmists’ who are praying and praising God, and even begging to be taught?  Our Bible Churches, (Churches which teach the Gospel of Christ, plus nothing, minus nothing,) are struggling with membership because it is “easier” to go to an “Oprah” church where sin is not discussed, and there are “millions” of ways to go to Heaven.
            Our God Loves All.  He tells us this over and over with Compassion and Love. 

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.

Yet, many people who call themselves “Christian” (after Christ’s Name) refuse to honour Him with Church attendance.  Heaven forbid they would go to Sunday School and be taught God’s Word.  (Where are the “multitudes” calling on His name?)  Many sleep in on Sunday.  Some are out on the Golf Course (weather permitting.)  Some are out doing anything (important stuff) to keep from honouring God.  Some are working.  I know we need income, yet there are too many who use this as their excuse to stay away.
            Where are they (the ones) that want to Praise God with their presence, their tithe, their offering, and their support of missions?  Where are they?
            Readers, “If I am speaking to you, today, this hour, determine in your heart to turn from your backsliding, and repent.  You have offended God by ignoring Him.  Determine today with a sincere heart, a true heart.  Get back to the Church that teaches from The Holy Bible, the one which praises God with its heart.  Don’t go just to be entertained.  Go to Worship God, and be a willing learner.” 
            Readers, if you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, know He Loves You, and the last thing He wants is for you to go into Eternity lost.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

All God is asking is that You accept His Son by believing God has raised Him from the grave.  He also asks that you confess that belief to another person.  If you do this with a sincere, truthful heart, God will save you. You will live eternally with God, His Son Jesus, and The Holy Spirit.  Today is the day, not tomorrow, today.  We have no guarantee of “a tomorrow.”  All we have is the “Now,” and it is “Now.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas   Fundamental Thoughts