Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Meditations From A Funeral

Meditations From The Funeral
Of Helen Lovins -- 9-29-2014
By Pastor Dr. Ronnie W. Wolfe

There is no higher truth, no more enduring peace, no warmer heart, no longer life, no stronger bond, no greater love, and no clearer eyes than Jesus Christ.

So Jesus Christ gives us a higher truth, a more enduring peace, a warmer heart, a longer life, a stronger bond, a greater love, and clearer eyes . . .

Clearer eyes to see:   a love beyond expression, a life beyond comprehension, a bond beyond separation, a heart beyond breaking, a peace beyond understanding, a truth beyond boundaries, and eyes to see . . .

... a city not made with hands, whose builder and maker is God, a mansion beyond this life, a place of no fear, no sorrow, no tears, "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

 So, by faith we can enter into that celestial city that God has made with his own hands, a city beyond our comprehension, which eye has not seen, which ear has not heard, and which it has not entered into the human heart of man but must be revealed by grace through faith in the crucified Lord, Jesus Christ, who became sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21).  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Psalm 119:77

Tender Mercies And The Law
Ronnie W. Wolfe

It is only by the tender mercies of God that we live. Our life is completely dependent upon God's gracious lovingkindness. Whenever he so desires, he may end our lives without any hesitation.

Therefore, we should always be mindful of God's sustenance of life. We live because he lives. We breath because he allows us to breath. We move because he allows us to move. Paul put it well in Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

God's tender mercies come to us that we may live. Without it we would not exist; we would perish. God controls life on earth. He gives it when he so desires, and he takes it away when he desires:  Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

So, let us be thankful for our very being, our very existence, and our ability to move and breath and go about our lives with his blessing. We need to be thankful and worshipful every day for these things.

When we look into the perfect law of liberty (God's word), we delight, for it tells us of these things so that we may bring praise to him. We delight in his law, for it speaks of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and gives us comfort for each day, knowing that life does not come from ourselves but is completely dependent upon God. We owe God everything, so let us be unworthy servants but diligent and faithful servants of God, desiring his law, which is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Psalm 119:76

God's Lovingkindness
Ronnie W. Wolfe

Now that the Lord has afflicted the psalmist so much and so often, he now begs for God's merciful kindness, for it is in God's word that we find his promise of comfort, kindness, and mercy; so it is according to God's word that we receive his kindness and under his auspices, his guidance, his authority, and his timing.

The word lovingkindness is found 26 times in the Bible. Twenty-one of those times it is found in the book of Psalms. Four times are in Jeremiah, and one time in Hosea.

God's lovingkindess is better than life (Psalm 63:3). He crowns us with lovingkindness (Psalm 104:4). We praise God for it (Psalm 138:2). Jeremiah 32:18 says that he shows his lovingkindness to thousands. He has shown it to me, and for that I worship him, praise him, and submit myself to him.

Without his love I would be lost; he first loved me (1 John 4:19). Without his mercy I would be lost (Titus 3:5). Without his grace I would have no hope (Eph. 2:8-10).  His kindness will not depart from me (Isaiah 54:10).

At the end of this verse the psalmist admits that he is God's servant, and aren't all of his children so? We should know that, after we have done our best, shown forth our best righteousness, served God with our whole heart, prayed with fervency, preached with power, witnessed with sincerity, read with intensity, begged for understand and for the Holy Spirit, kept ourselves from the world, separated our minds from carnality and secularism, guided people away from error, taught the truth, and submitted to the will of God: after having done all of that and more, we are only unprofitable servants.

He demands perfect obedience; he requires holiness; he expects righteousness; he encourages perfection. He deserves more than we can possibly give: he is God.

We are only the sheep of his pasture, who eat from his bounty, receive his gifts, enjoy his comfort and his spiritual illumination and his eternal life.

Though we are only unworthy and unprofitable servants, let us give the best for the Master, vessels of honor for his glory. He is coming, and his reward is with him (Isaiah 62:11).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Psalm 119:75

God Is Sovereign
Ronnie W. Wolfe

Did you ever think (and think hard before you answer) that God was wrong in something he did or something he did not do? Well, I suppose we have all had our doubts about the way God does things, but there is one thing that we must remember--and the psalmist brings it to our attention; that is, that God is always right.

We are not his judge, and he is not responsible for listening to our reasoning of his Providence.

Daniel 4:35
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Psalms 115:3
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

God has done, does, and will do whatsoever he pleases. That is hard for many people to grasp--even myself sometimes, but that is such a great blessing when the mind embraces such a motif of God's sovereignty from the word of God. HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT! HE IS GOD!

Therefore, it follows that, when the Lord afflicts us, he is right also on that count. He chastens because we are his children. He loves us with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:13). He is our Father, our Lord, the Sovereign of all existence, and the Ruler of our lives.

When Isaiah saw him high and lifted up (Isaiah 6:1), he denounced his own pride and humbled himself before the great Sovereign. First Isaiah said, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts" (6:3); then he said, "Woe is me! for I am undone" (6:5).

Oh, that we all as his creatures humble ourselves before the Great Sovereign of time and eternity and accept his rules as the true standard and measure of his will for our lives and submit to his wisdom and learn of him. May we trust him in all things.

How big is God? He is big enough to rule this mighty universe, yet small enough to live within the soul.

What a wonder is God! No enemy can overcome him; no force is greater, no rule is higher. All time bows to him; all life is dependent on him; all saints should adore and fear him; let us praise his name forever, knowing that he is "Our Father which art in heaven."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Psalm 119:74

Hope In The Word
Ronnie W. Wolfe

You will admit, I think, that this is an unusual verse of Scripture; but I believe we may be blessed to understand some principles from this great verse.

"They that fear thee" are the ones who have seen that they are depraved, blinded by sin, dead in their trespasses, and have repented and trusted Jesus Christ for salvation, for the fear of the Lord comes as a part of regeneration and conversion.

These are the ones to whom we must have a good reputation, showing that we truly fear the Lord and are serious about our confession unto salvation. These are the ones who are concerned about our welfare and even our help and encouragement in times of trouble. These are the ones with whom we have good fellowship and depend upon for personal exhortations.

These "will be glad when they see me," because in my personal life I should be salt (Matt. 5:13) and light (Matt. 5:14). My life will be a tutor or a teacher to others of true faithfulness to God. Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:12 that he should be an example of the believers. This is our calling and great privilege; thus, others who believe will be glad when they see us.

The ultimate reason for the gladness is due to the fact that we have hoped in God's word. We have our hope in the Living Word, Jesus Christ, for it is He who died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:13; Gal. 1:4; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Through the Living Word we have hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5); we have a hope laid up in heaven (Col. 1:5); Christ in us is the hope of glory (Col. 1:27); we have a hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7); we lay hold onto a hope that is set before us (Heb. 6:18); and we have a reason for the hope that lies within us and can give an answer for it (1 Peter 3:15).

Through the Written Word we who are saved can receive sanctification (John 17:17); we can have our understanding opened (Luke 24:45); we can reason with others through the Written Word (Acts 17:2); we can show by the Written Word that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:28); and we can preach the Gospel through the Written Word (1 Cor. 15:3-4).

So, let us watch one another to edification; let us exhort one another as believers, and especially in our local churches, that we can be believers that will bring praise and honor to our Lord!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Psalm 119:73

Understand God's Wisdom
Ronnie W. Wolfe

It is with calm assurance that we understand that God has made us with his own hands. He formed and fashioned us just as he did Adam in the beginning. In Psalms 100:3 the psalmist states, Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Again the psalmist says in Psalms 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Job also understood this principle of life when he states in Job 10:8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; . . .

But even though God has made us, and he made Adam upright, yet Adam did sin; and that has plunged the entire human race into a depraved, sinful condition. Thus, we need for God to illuminate our minds to the truth; so, he pleads for God to give him understanding.

The truth of God is not "the wisdom of the world" (1 Cor. 2:6), but it is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 2:7) that we speak in a mystery (because we cannot rationally understand that wisdom). It is a "hidden wisdom" that is ordained of God (1 Cor. 2:7), wisdom that Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Cor. 2:9).

May God give us understanding to both accept his word and practice his statutes. David said to Solomon in 1 Chronicles 22:12 Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God.

The knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of God come only from God. Scholarship and sophistry are too worldly and small to accommodate God's rich wisdom--all this that we might learn God's commandments and learn to do them.

Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Psalm 119:72

Great Than Silver And Gold
Ronnie W. Wolfe

Two of the most powerful and fearless men of the New Testament were Peter and John. They were effective in a unique way in the work of God in the church. As they went up (in Acts 3) to the temple to pray, they were confronted with a lame man from his mother's womb who asked them for alms (help). They answered him that they had NO silver and gold, but they had something that was much more precious.

In our text today we find that the law of God's mouth, the Scriptures, is of greater worth than thousands of silver and gold, yeah, than all the silver and gold that exists. These words of God are sweeter than honey (119:103); they give light (119:130); it has great wisdom (Prov. 23:9).

Ah, how sweet after a busy and sometimes confusing and tiring day to sit down, relax, reach for the Bible, open it to a passage, read the sweet and powerful words from a chapter and meditate on the word of God! What a lasting pleasure settles in our souls as we think upon God's word and learn from his clear message of grace and his encouragement to service!

Psalm 19:10-11 expresses to us that the judgments of God are true and righteous and more to be desired than fine gold, sweeter than the honey comb, and in keeping them there is great reward.

Can we with confidence hold fast in dedication to the word of God? Can we learn it? Can we apply it and work it out? Can we teach it to others that they may teach it still to others? This is our intent in life as children of God. Without the word of God, we would be as sheep without a Shepherd. But Christ is our Shepherd. He has atoned for our sins. He has paid the ransom, and we are free, free to study to show ourselves approved of God and to be workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly handling the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).

Pick it up; read it through; write it down; work it out; speak it forth; hide it in; wait for the promise!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Psalm 119:71

God's Chastening Hand
Ronnie W. Wolfe

In verse 67 the psalmist said that, before he was afflicted, he went astray; but after he was afflicted (I think by the Holy Spirit in rebuke and chastening), he kept God's word.

Now he again mentions being afflicted, and here he intimates that he was afflicted for the very purpose that he might learn the statutes of the Lord.

It is a reasonable thing and a good thing that we be afflicted by God in chastisement, for Hebrews 12:6 says, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If God loves you, he will chasten you. If God does not chasten you, then you are not his son. Hebrews goes on to say in the following verses:

Hebrews 12:7-8  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Are you not thankful that your parents corrected you when you were a child? Are you not thankful that your teachers constrained you from doing wrong things when you were in school? Are you not thankful that policemen and other authorities are placed in society by the sanction of God's word to keep law and order?  Then be thankful that God has set in order his own rules for chastening his children.

Then we see the admonition in verse 9, as it says . . .

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
God corrects us for our own good and for his glory. Therefore, we should not be angry with the Lord when he chastens us. We should be thankful and joyous, for his correction brings eventual joy in our hearts, that God loves us with an everlasting love and works in and through us, for we read in Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Weep for the moment, then receive the joy that comes from God's chastening his children. You will not soon forget it.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Psalm 119:70

Riches And The Word
Ronnie W. Wolfe

The psalmist is still speaking of the proud when he says "their heart" in this verse. This pride is like disgusting grease, perhaps referring to its slippery consistency, allowing truth to slip away from them.

But perhaps the "fat as grease" refers to their riches. Both words fat and grease have to do with abundance and riches in the Bible. Riches are disgusting in the hands of the proud, for they use riches to manipulate situations and people.

The proud heart is an abomination to the LORD (Prov. 16:5). It is also sin (Prov. 21:4). It stirs up strife (Prov. 28:25). God's judgment came against Moab due to pride (Jer. 48:29-31).

The servant of God, however, delights in the law of God. Rather than riches in the world, we desire riches from God's word. We desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18). We desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2). We desire truth in the inward parts (Psalm 51:6).

The word desire in this verse may also mean to handle. We love to handle the word of God, have it in our hands, peruse it, study it, memorize it, deliver it, teach it, hear it (see 2 Timothy 2:15). The word dividing in Paul's advice to Timothy means to handle. Our hands have handled the word of life (1 John 1:1).

How precious is the word of God to you? Leave your riches, depend not upon the riches of this world.

Psalms 62:10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

1 Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Psalm 119:69

The Proud
Ronnie W. Wolfe

The Bible speaks of the proud 47 times, so they are a very noticeable species in the Scriptures. Pride is a malady which haunts all of us, whether lost or saved. We cannot overcome this sin sickness alone; we need the Lord's grace and mercy to overcome it. We shall not dispense with it in this life but will be awaiting its end only in eternity.

In our verse today the psalmist explains how that pride--and he is speaking of pride in the lost--will cause sinners to forge lies against us. Since they cannot with reason conquer our truth, they must invent lies in order to combat God's truth and to try to overcome the witness of the believers' hearts.

Paul says in Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. The truth of God can be changed into a lie, not in reality, but only in the minds of those whose minds are blinded. Notice 2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

But, though the world run around in their blind condition and invent ways to lie about the truth, we who are saved, on the other hand, will keep God's precepts with our whole heart; and, if this is done, when we have done all, we will be standing (Eph. 6:13).

We shall stand when the winds of false doctrine blow by (Eph. 4:14). We shall stand as the whole world lies in wickedness (1 John 5:19). We shall stand when temptations come (James 1:2). We shall stand when all the false professors have departed from the truth and have forged their lies against us.

Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Psalm 119:68

God Is Great. God is Good
Ronnie W. Wolfe

Did you ever think, remember, or even know that one good reason to desire knowledge of God's statutes (his word) is that God is good? If there were no other reason in the entire world to know God's word, that is one; but there are multitudes of reasons for knowing his word, though this reason may very well be the best reason.

In elementary school we used to say our dinner prayer by saying, "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for our food." It is true that God is great, for we read in 2 Chronicles 2:5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods. We know that God is good, for we read in Psalms 73:1 Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

Therefore, we desire to know his statutes (our text). We also desire to be taught his ways (or paths) as in Psalms 25:4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths, also good judgment (Psalm 119:66, 108).

Most important perhaps is his teaching us to do His will:  Psalms 143:10 Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.

Will we be taught by him the things that we need to know for dedication, faithfulness, and worship toward Him?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Psalm 119:67

Keeping Thy Word
Ronnie W. Wolfe

There was a time, the psalmist says, when he was not afflicted. He enjoyed the tender, loving care of his God. He worried about nothing; his enemies were at bay; his heart was filled with worship and praise; he met with God in the sanctuary; he feared no man.

Before he was afflicted, while in the state of comfort and wealth, that is when he went astray. It is not when we are poor and undone, chased by our enemies, hated by our foes, and taunted by atheists that we are afflicted; it is while we are in the unworried, uncaring, nonchalant mood that we experience the affliction of God. That is when he went astray

But after our sin, God is faithful to chasten us. When we are quiet and unafraid and fear neither man nor God, that is when we sin, or go astray. Then comes the affliction of God. Then, after our sin, the affliction of God visits us.

When sin and affliction (or discipline) come, that is when we need to turn from our sin and keep the word of God. That is when we need to return, be revived, and stand again in our lot as soldiers of God, fight the good fight, war a good warfare, keep the faith.

Now is the time for us, having been relaxed in his comforting arms, held in his strong hand, and loved with his eternal love to turn from our sins as his children, having been afflicted for them, and keep God's word.

To keep God's word means to heed to it, to guard it from being misrepresented, to speak its truth and live its truth in our lives. It also means to observe it, to live by it, to trust it for our everyday walk and our dedication and thanksgiving to God.

Thy word, what a standard for our way!
Thy word, what refreshing every day!
Thy word, what amazing comfort giv'n.
Thy word, that shows the way to Heav'n.

Precious is thy word to me!
Strong is thy word to make me see!
Soft as felt, thy word to the touch!
I want and need thy word so much!
Ronnie W. Wolfe

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Psalm 119:66

Like Clouds Without Water
Ronnie W. Wolfe

Even though we believe that God's book, the Bible, is true; and, even though we trust it fully and faithfully, we still indeed have a need to be taught by the Holy Spirit. His job is to lead us into all truth.

Many trust the Bible, but they do not read and study it. Believing in it is not sufficient. We must all get into the word, read it, study it, and ask God to lead us into the truth of it, for without that leadership of the Holy Spirit we cannot grow in grace and knowledge.

This will teach us good judgment. In other words, we shall be able to make day-to-day, important judgments and make proper choices in life if we are led by the word of God (his commandments).

All knowledge should be guided by the word of God, since his commandments are true and righteous and are given to us to guide us through the science falsely so called in the world. This knowledge of God will allow us to decide where to go, what to say, how to act, and how to give praise to God.

So, spend time in the Bible. Get to know it well. Learn it as much as you can. People spend so much time learning worldly things, yet they do not spend enough time learning God's word. World knowledge without the guidance of the Holy Scriptures is like clouds without water--a promise not kept. The world will let us down, but God will give us good success.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Psalm 119:65

He Deals With Us Well
Ronnie W. Wolfe

The time must come, and it has come, when the Lord must deal with us. He must do his own bidding toward us. He will bless us, help us, encourage us, heal us, and even discipline us; but all of these things will be done according to his word. He never does anything except it be in accordance with his word. His word is sure; it is true; it is everlasting, and even he must abide by it.

What he does he does well, and that in dealing with his servants. We are his servants, and he will deal well with us. That is why all things can work together for good to us.

The word "dealt" in this verse is a simple word for "to do, or to accomplish." We are the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3), the clay for the Potter (Isaiah 64:8), the branches on the vine (John 15:5), his offspring (Acts 17:29); therefore, he deals with us well. He will accomplish his word and his will in us.

May we, then, serve him in being faithful servants. Our service to him manifests our love for him (John 14:15). He is the LORD; we are his servants; let us serve him well.