Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christian, What Are You Doing?

Isaiah 30:21  And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

            Have you ever had that “voice,” an ever so “soft voice” that said “yes,” or possibly “no?”  I have heard that “voice” say, “no” more times than I want to admit, and way too many times, I have disobeyed that “voice”. 
            What brought this message to my mind was watching drivers here in Texas.  I see so many drivers making right or left turns by crossing over many lanes of traffic using the “whole” road as “their personal driving space.”  (Now I know “Texans” will tell me that it is all those “Yankees” and their bad driving habits that they brought with them.”  Having driven in a lot of our country, I cannot tell much difference in driving habits, in the north or south.)
            So Brother John, how are “these turns” related to our scripture?  “If” we are as true a follower of Jesus as we say we are, we signal (pray) and ask for guidance when we make a turn.  Guided, we do turn, and will stay in the correct lane.  When we need to change lanes, we will signal (pray) (and only then) follow our Guide.  (A person who purposely walks with God will (should) purpose in his life to walk a proper path as some of the lanes before us are lanes of sin and strife.  Sometimes we must cross those paths of sin and strife.  In so doing we must signal, (pray for protection) while we are in those “horrifying lanes.” )
            This simile is for those drivers who turn [live a lifestyle of their own choosing] of their own free will and move about as if they owned the road, (are moving from one sin to another and each becoming less gratifying than the last.)  They finally will make u-turn after u-turn only to find “the vertigo of the turns and the lane changes” are captivating.  (Not “captivating” in the sense of the thrill of sin, but “captivating” in the sense of imprisonment.)

Romans 1:28-32  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  (29)  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  (30)  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  (31)  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  (32)  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

God will eventually give them “over to a reprobate mind.” 
            Our task, as a Christian, is to remind them of their sin and attempt to lead them away from sin and toward God’s Way.  We are to love the individual, but hate their sin.  We are to show them that there is “a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.
            We must try to direct them to God, before He gives “them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”  What a horrifying thought:  someone “so lost” that they are not retrievable.  Someone lost to eternal damnation in the eternal lake of fire.
            “Christian, what are you doing?   We must get on our knees and “signal” to God we need help, help to lead a loved one, a friend, or an associate to Him.”  Desire His help.  Know He will help.
            Always signal and turn “into the correct lane.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas

fundamentalthoughts-preacher.blogspot.com   Fundamental Thoughts

Christian, What Is Your Testimony?

17 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalm 119:129-136 PE.  Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.  130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.  131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.  132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.  133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.  134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.  135  Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.  136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

            Our Psalmist begins by praising God’s Testimony.  He tells us how God has helped him and how God will give understanding to all that desire His Love.  At times, we know that King David’s testimony was not what we would call “good.”  Yet, through it all, King David was “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”

Acts 13:22  And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

As King David found, we can find that the core of our strength is God’s Love.  In that strength, our testimony (our walk, our talk) ought to reflect The Love of God in our heart.  Many will tell me they can be just like King David, and walk a walk with the world.  (That is not so, because every time David “stepped out of line,” he and/or The Nation of Israel were punished.)
            God’s Will for “each and every one” of us is that we accept His Son Jesus as our Personal Saviour.
John 17:1-8  These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:  (2)  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  (3)  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  (4)  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  (5)  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.  (6)  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.  (7)  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.  (8)  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

God gave His Son The Power over each of us.  We as Christians need to use that “power” to lead others to God through His Son Jesus.  Our walk ought to exemplify our Lord and Saviour.  Many are criticizing football player, “Tim Tebow” for his praising God during his games.  (If we would only do half as much within our Christian walks, “Amazing Godly Things” would follow our paths.)
            “Reader, where do you stand within your daily walk?   Are you after “[God’s] own heart” and do others “know” who you are following?  Are you another “Tim Tebow,” or are you one who mocks what he does?”
            “Christian, where do you stand?  If you cannot relate to King David’s position (or for that matter “Tim Tebow’s,”) where in the “world” do you stand?  Stand for God through His Son Jesus.  Let others know what you are about.  Have a worthwhile testimony.  Start today.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas      

fundamentalthoughts-preacher.blogspot.com   Fundamental Thoughts

Monday, December 12, 2011

According Unto Thy Mercy

16 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalm 119:121-128 AIN. I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.  122  Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.  123  Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.  124  Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.  125  I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.   126  It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.  127  Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.  128  Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

            Our Psalmist begins by begging God that he fears failing “to mine oppressors.”  He admits he has failed God and he begs for God’s Mercy.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

            Christian, you and I are “in the same boat” as our Psalmist.  We each fear failing:  failing financially; failing morally; failing in our job; and failing God and His Son Jesus.  (I might have carried that rant a bit too far.)  “Do you fear failing God?”  If you already have eternal salvation, (which is also everlasting and forevermore,) “do you feel there is no need to bother?” 
            One problem we have in our understanding “Faith” is the believer’s eternal security.  Eternal salvation is not a lie.  (It is a Biblical truth in our scripture.)  However, once a person accepts Jesus as his personal Saviour, (and then learns he cannot lose his salvation,) he may go on his way, (as before,) with no repentant heart.  “I was baptized, now I am saved.”  (Some even believe that the baptism was the mode of Salvation.)
            (If you have NOT become a “new creature” and your old life style has NOT “passed away,” you may not have what you have been led to believe.)

2 Corinthians_5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

A person, who has accepted Jesus with a repentant heart, (with God’s Mercy) will change.  A person changes because of The Holy Spirit’s conviction.  (The “new creature” will want to become new.”)  If you responded to the conviction of The Holy Spirit, salvation is yours to keep.  I have heard some who have stated, “You Baptist, knowing your Salvation is complete, you can do anything you want.”  To this I have answered, “Yes, that is right.  However, my “want to’s” have changed.  I don’t want to do what I used to want to do.”  My salvation is complete in that I am secure eternally, yet I must grow within that salvation.
            King David tells us that all he really wants is to be given “thy mercy.”  Isn’t that what all of us want?

Romans 12:1-2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

            Paul teaches us that “the mercies of God” are real and present.  To receive God’s Mercy, we must begin by accepting Jesus The Christ as our personal Saviour.  Once we have accepted Jesus, our task is to live a life of sacrifice, by God’s standards, (not the worlds,) being deemed as acceptably Holy.  This is called our “reasonable service.”
            Paul continues to teach us that we must make a decision “in our new walk.”  That decision is we must be “transformed by the renewing of your [our] mind.”  Therefore, with God’s power through The Holy Ghost, (and our decision,) we are changed.
            “Seek God’s mercy.  Call on Jesus’ name.  Beg for the forgiveness you do not deserve.  Repent of your sins.  Do purpose in your heart to be a changed, “transformed” person of God.  What are you waiting for?  Get to it!”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas  

fundamentalthoughts-preacher.blogspot.com   Fundamental Thoughts

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vanity of Vanities

15 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:113-120  SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.  (114)  Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.  (115)  Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.  (116)  Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.  (117)  Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.  (118)  Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.  (119)  Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.  (120)  My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.

            Our Psalmist begins with the statement, “I hate vain thoughts.”  He follows with God IS his hiding place.

Psalms 61:4  I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

Our Psalmist trusts the safety of God’s Arms (wings.)  He reminisces about his Hope in God’s Word, and asks God to uphold him that he might live.  He begs God to help him from doubts concerning his belief in God.
            Yet, the subject of this portion of Psalm 119 shows how much King David hates “vain thoughts.”  (David’s son Solomon came to the end of his life saying all he had accomplished was vanity.)
(Definition of vanity is:  emptiness, untruth.)
Ecclesiastes 1:2  Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

            So, the Son failed where the Father excelled.  This brings up the question, “What are vain thoughts?”  “Have you ever spent time where you were actually “twiddling” your thumbs?”  Your mind was essentially blank, no thoughts worth discussing.  We might exclaim, “I am bored.”  (Those are times we sit watching a show on TV that we have seen more times than we want to count.)  These times are “vain thoughts. ”
            Another time we experience “vain thoughts” are those times that “our mouth gets out of gear,” and blasphemy of God’s Name soars to new heights by uttering those cuss words. 

Deuteronomy 5:11  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Yet, cussing isn’t the only way we take God’s Name in vain.  An example:  our amazement, (good or bad,) we speak excitedly and utter one of His Names.  That, regardless of opinion, is using “the name of the LORD thy God in vain.”   We see in the same verse that God “will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”  (So, it is very important to agree with King David and “hate vain thoughts.”) 
            All of God’s Names should ALWAYS be in Reverence, with Worship and Holiness.  Our conversation should never, never include God’s / Jesus’ Names in common “street language.”
            So “Reader, has vanity gotten control of your life?”  Satan loves keeping you in vain thoughts thereby separating you from God.  Gain control, eliminate, and hate those vain thoughts.

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas       

fundamentalthoughts-preacher.blogspot.com   Fundamental Thoughts

Christian, What Are We Doing?

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.

            Last evening, while watching Bill O’Reilly on the “Factor,” he mentioned a new bumper sticker which stated, “Restore The USA.”  To me this is a good thing.  A few days earlier, my wife and I were driving around our new city, and I saw another familiar sign, which stated, “America Needs Prayer.”  It referenced our verse, and this is good.  However, there has been much left out.
            While many have no notion of the spirituality that is required, I expected the world knew it wasn’t JUST prayer.  In general, it appears that Christians have no knowledge of what must be done.  (It must be noted I do believe prayer is what is needed to “Restore The USA” and no doubt “America Needs Prayer.”)
            Our scripture verse indicates that those who “are called by my name” are to “humble themselves” and “seek my face.”  We as Christians are not to be like the Pharisees of the past who offered to pray for coin.  We are to look inward (deep within ourselves) and seek God in repentance.  This only comes by prayer, and in prayer a Christian must seek God through His Son Jesus The Christ.  That portion, (which is our humbling,) must be done with a desire to be humble before God.  Otherwise, we are likely wasting our prayer and our time.  We need to seek Him with a heart that desires Him.  The Choice is ours.
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 desire must be with a “true heart,” a heart that is sincere and free of any contrary thoughts, or evilness.  Our scripture continues by telling us: in addition to humbling ourselves and seeking God, we are to “turn from their [OUR] wicked ways.”  “Hey, Bro Chastain, I am a Christian, and my ways are not wicked.”  I for one am not your Judge, however, our scripture tells us:

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

I do believe the word “all” does include everyone.  Consequently then, “all” of us are sinners and we “all” entertain wickedness in some form or fashion.
            So now we know that in order for the United States of America to be restored, American Christians must change first, and get back to God.  In order for this to happen, a lot of people, and a lot of Churches must get themselves back to their first love.

Revelation 2:4  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

This is where we stand as a Nation, as a Church, and as a Christian.  (We are looking more to the world and less to God and His Son Jesus.)  “Christian, fall to your knees in repentance.  Church, turn away from the worldly music, the worldly bibles, turn to The Saviour, and then and only then will God “…heal their [Our] land.”  Start today, not tomorrow, today to “Restore The USA.”  Just do it.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas

fundamentalthoughts-preacher.blogspot.com   Fundamental Thoughts

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Lamp of God, Our Holy Bible

14 of 22 from Psalm 119

Psalms 119:105-112  NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  (106)  I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.  (107)  I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.  (108)  Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments.  (109)  My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.  (110)  The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.  (111)  Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.  (112)  I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end.

            Psalm 119:105 has only been a guiding force for me in recent years.  (I had never heard this verse before my Salvation.  I had NEVER read The Bible.)  God has given us this verse so we can obtain the light required to walk in this wicked and sorely evil world.
            Our Psalmist testifies to the snares (temptations) that were constantly laid before him.  If we are cognizant of our environment, we must also be aware of anything that is laid before us that will keep us from our walk with the Lord.  (The world is working to extinguish our light.  The world wants us so busy we do not have time to read God’s Word, and consequently dimming The Light of God.)
            Does our Psalmist give us a solution?  He shows us by his “freewill offerings of my mouth,” (His prayers are how he learns God’s Judgment.)  His prayers are not forced, memorized, nor read.  They are from his heart and freely spoken to our Lord.  He begs God to “Accept, I beseech thee” with freewill prayers.  (Now we have a concept of what God also wants from us.) 
            Historically, it is presumed that King David penned these words and he is our Psalmist.  King David was a man “after mine own heart,” and even as a sinner, we should be quoted as being “after mine own heart.”

Acts 13:22  And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

1 Samuel 13:14  …the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart...

Psalms 89:20  I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:

            Reader, the question now is, “Are you after God’s heart?  Can you say I have “erred not from thy precepts,” God’s laws, God’s commands?”  (To the best of my ability, I cannot.  I have walked a very narrow road, but that road hasn’t been narrow enough.)  God will provide the protection, but it is our job to define that road.  It is our task to follow God’s Commands.  He isn’t standing beside the road to correct us.  He has given us The Holy Spirit to guide us.  We must listen to Him, and be willing to follow His guide.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

To a Christian, this verse should be very familiar.  Our problem is that we use it as our excuse, our crutch, and we fail to repent and have God’s Word as “a lamp unto my feet.” 
            As you ponder this devotion, consider where you stand within God’s Will.  Ask yourself, Am I using “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path?”
            “Christian, this is the day and the time.  Repent of your walk, and narrow your path.  Seek God through His Son Jesus The Christ.  Ask for His forgiveness and His help to narrow your way.” 
            As the shoe company states, “Just Do It.”

Bro John R. E Chastain
Retired Pastor
Wylie, Texas       

fundamentalthoughts-preacher.blogspot.com   Fundamental Thoughts