“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Psalm 119 (Wayne Goff)
2) The Impact of Our Choices (Dennis Stackhouse)
3) Wash Your Face (Leslie Diestelkamp)
This psalm may be largely overlooked because of its 176 verses! It is, in fact, the longest chapter in the Bible. But for those who take the time to read it, there is great value.
Magnifying God’s Word
As most might realize, the overriding theme of the chapter is the beauty, power and magnitude of God’s Word and the great reward that comes from obeying it. “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart” (v. 2). The “blessings” that come from obeying God’s Word include a good way of life (vv. 3, 30, 45, 59-60, 101, 105), an upright heart (v. 6), cleansing (v. 8), Divine direction (vv. 7-11, 24, 133), valuable meditations (vv. 14, 23, 27, 48, 97, 148), wisdom (vv. 18, 46, 98-100), understanding (vv. 27, 66, 73, 169), comfort (vv. 28, 40, 50, 76, 111), great peace (v. 165), faithfulness (vv. 32-35, 44, 112), avoiding vain thoughts and ways (vv. 36, 104), and not the least — salvation (vv. 41, 81, 94, 123, 146, 166, 174). He even goes so far as to magnify his own affliction which was overcome by keeping God’s Word (vv. 67, 71, 75, 107, 153)! The Psalmist is well aware of the frailty and uncertainty of life (vv. 84, 92-93, 141, 143-144).
In contrast, the Psalmist repeatedly points out the condemnation and sad plight of the disobedient (vv. 21, 23, 60, 69, 78, 85-87, 95, 110, 118-119, 122), as well as his total disgust with their unbelief (vv. 51-53, 70, 115, 126, 134, 136, 150, 155, 157-158, 161)!
God’s Word and all its benefits are more valuable than silver and gold (vv. 72, 127, 162) — it alone can lead to eternal life! “Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven” (v. 89). God’s faithfulness is obvious in both the natural world and the spiritual world (v. 90-91). “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (v. 160).
Synonyms for God’s Message
Notice the synonyms used for God’s Word in this psalm: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, righteous judgments, word, truth, ordinances, and righteous word. The chapter magnifies God’s revelation and enumerates the benefits of obeying it.
Reading it over several times gives one the benefit of focusing on the various aspects or angles of the psalm. It is well worth a little bit of your time, and it gives you something to think about in the quiet moments of life, or in times when sleep evades you.
“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (v. 165).
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (v. 105).
“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts” (vv. 99–100).
— Via the Roanridge Reader, Volume 34, Issue 43, Page 3
The Impact of Our Choices
Just prior to his physical death, Joshua tried to encourage the people of Israel with these familiar words: “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Strong words from one of Israel’s strongest leaders. And in reality, choosing to serve God is the most important choice any human being can ever make because that decision will have an impact not only in this physical life, it will also carry over into eternity. Let’s consider for just a few moments the choice that must be made by all of us.
One point to quickly understand is that our choices are rather limited: God or the devil. In Matthew 12:30 Jesus said this: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” Many people fail to realize that if they have not made a choice to follow and serve Christ, they are serving the devil. To not make the choice to follow Christ is in reality making the choice to follow the devil. In fact, such people are doing damage to God’s kingdom. Notice our Lord said that the one who does not follow Him “scatters.” From this we must also understand that there is no third choice. There are those who would like to “ride the fence” and walk in some kind of imaginary middle ground. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground; we are following Christ or we are following Satan.
We should also realize that our choice to follow Christ is one that must be actively pursued. Jesus Himself asked a haunting question in Luke 6:46: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” The obvious course of action for someone who has confessed Jesus as their Lord is to obey and follow and serve Him through the remainder of their life. However, if one confesses Christ as his or her Lord and then fails to obey Him, they are simply wasting their breath. This is reinforced in the words of Luke 9:62, where Jesus said: “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The Christian life is one that requires a constant, unwavering dedication to God and Christ. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
The impact of his choice to become a Christian caused Paul to press toward the goal of heaven, something that every child of God should be doing. The grand words of I Corinthians 15:58 need to be words the Christian lives out: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” God will not forget the work that is done in His service (Hebrews 6:10). In the same way, we must never forget the impact our choices have on the kind of life we live. As Christians, we must be steadfast.
— Via articles from the La Vista church of Christ
Wash Your Face
When you see a dirty face in the mirror, you wash your face, not the mirror. Likewise when we see error in our lives, portrayed by truth revealed in the Bible, let us simply clean up our lives and quit criticizing the Bible.
What do you think of a man who breaks a mirror because he doesn’t like what he sees? Then what do you think of one who criticizes the truth that simply reveals the inner man that we can’t see with the physical eye?
— Via The Beacon, October 20, 2019
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin” (NASB).
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services:9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 614-8593
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)