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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Communion With God by Charles H. Spurgeon

“All my fountains are in you,” said David. If you have all your fountains in God, your heart will be completely full. If you went to the foot of Calvary, there your heart will be bathed in love and gratitude. If you go often to your place of seclusion, and there talk with your God, it is there that your heart will be filled with calm determination. If you go out with the Master to the Mount of Olives, and looked down with Him on a wicked Jerusalem, and weep over it with Him, then your heart will be full of love for eternal souls. If you continually draw your stimulus, your life, your entire being from the Holy Spirit, without whom you can do nothing, and if you live in close communion with Christ, then there will be no fear of you having a cold heart.

“One who lives without prayer-one who lives with little prayer-one who seldom reads the Word-one who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high-will be the person whose heart will become cold and barren; but the person who calls in secret to their God-who spends much time in holy seclusion-who delights to meditate on the words of the Most High-whose soul is given up to Christ-who delights in his fullness, rejoices in his complete sufficiency, prays for his second coming, and delights in the thought of his glorious return-such a person, I say, must have an overflowing heart; and as their heart is, so will be their life. It will be a full life; it will be a life that will speak from the grave, and reverberate into the future. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life,” and plead with the Holy Spirit to keep it full; otherwise, the outcome of your life will be feeble, shallow, and superficial; and you might as well not have lived at all.”

God Knows Me by J.I. Packer

I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.

This is a momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort–the sort of comfort that energizes. . . in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love, and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion Him about me, in the way I am often disillusioned about myself, and quench His determination to bless me. . . He sees all the twisted things about me that my fellow-men do not see (and I am glad!), and that He sees more corruption in me than that which I see in myself (which, in all conscience, is enough). There is, however, equally great incentive to worship and love God in the thought that, for some unfathomable reason, He wants me as His friend, and desires to be my Friend, and has given His Son to die for me in order to realize this purpose. . . not merely that we know God, but that He knows us (J. I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 37).

The Lord said to Moses, ” . . . you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name” (Exodus 33:17).

Who Is Polycarp?

Are You Unsettled By Doubts?

As a Christian, do you ever have doubts? I mean doubts about your faith in God or if there really is a God. Do you have doubts about the Bible being the actual Word of God written down for us? Perhaps you believe there must be a God, but you doubt that He personally cares anything about you. It is easy to doubt when you see evil men prosper and injustice done to good men. When the whole world seems to be running after their own lusts determined to fulfill their every sensuous desire – it becomes easy to doubt that the Christian way is the right way.

James spoke rightly when he said, “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (1:6) The unsettled soul has many doubts which result from a lack of communion with Christ. Do you doubt? Run toward Christ and with every step you will grow in confidence and defeat discouragement. Faith is strengthened by communion with Christ. Charles Spurgeon asks the question, “Where do you live? Many a believer lives in the ‘cottage of doubt,’ when he might live in the ‘mansion of faith.'”

Paul reminds Timothy, “O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’. . . .” (1 Timothy 6:20) We must ever be on guard against the doubt which destroys faith. Jesus describes what happens to the good seeds of faith when not tended properly: “As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22) These thorns of doubt are planted by Satan and grow quickly when the garden is not kept.

Therefore, guard your faith through regular communion with Christ. Pray and study that you would be full of the Scriptures. Then you will be able to fight the doubts of dark times through confidence in the Word God that He has shared with you in His light.

Is Real Contentment Possible?

Are you content with your life and circumstances? A great many people are not. Do you often say to yourself, “I would be happy and content if I could just. . . .”? We certainly live in a culture that promotes false happiness at the expense of true contentment. After all, the purpose of the commercials we are bombarded with every day is to make us discontent with what we have by promising happiness and contentment if you purchase a new ________ (you fill in the blank). This method of finding contentment is based on the false premise that contentment is achieved by the acquisition of material possessions. I think most of us have fallen prey to this philosophy at one time or another.

The Apostle Paul writes, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13) Paul’s attitude is that contentment cannot be entrusted to circumstances or things. The secret of his contentment was his trust in God. Paul believed that the providential care of God placed him where he needed to be and thus found contentment and rest.

Blaise Pascal once observed that, “All the misfortunes of men spring from their not knowing how to live quietly at home in their own rooms.” Pascal is not advocating we become house bound hermits. He is pointing out that our lack of contentment is based on the fact that we are dissatisfied with ourselves until we find our satisfaction in God. Christ must be our greatest treasure; our pearl of great price. Only He will satisfy the hearts of those who trust in Him.

Trust in God and you will enjoy the blessing of a contented mind. It is God’s gift to the Christian. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.'” (Hebrews 13:5) How can we fail to find contentment in such a promise as this?

Words By George Washington For Memorial Day Meditations

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend on God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”

“If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.”

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

“I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.”

“I earnestly pray that the Omnipotent Being who has not deserted the cause of America in the hour of its extremest hazard, will never yield so fair a heritage of freedom a prey to ‘Anarchy’ or ‘Despotism’.”

A Military Sermon

If you will be soldiers, resolve to conquer or die. It is not so much skill or strength that conquers, as boldness. It is fear that loses the day, and fearlessness that wins it. The army which stands to it gets the victory, who they fight never so weakly, for if you will not run, the enemy will. And if the lives of a few be lost by courage, it usually saves the lives of many. If the cause be not worth your lives, you should not meddle with it. If it is, you should choose rather to sacrifice the, than your country.” The man of good courage, is prepared to bear up against all the hardships of the warmest service with an unbroken erect mind, when the cause of GOD and his people, shall press him into their service. The intrepid spirit, rested on the brave Nehemiah, when he exclaimed-Should such a man as I, flee? This spirit inspired that brave commander, who, when deserted by his army in the heat of battle, cried out to them saying: “Go tell the living that I die fighting, while I go and tell the dead, that you live flying.” Are the preceding observations just? We hence learn that courage is necessary in men of military character. No wonder then, that Israel’s brave commander, thus said to his army. “Be of good courage.” And no wonder that he further said, let us play the men. Q.D. Let us do that on this great, trying occasion, which MEN, reasonable creatures ought to do. In these words, there is an implication, that he himself was resolved to do that, which he called them to do-either enter into battle, or so post himself, as to direct and guide them to victory. We have no reason to suspect, but that he would readily have done the former, if the case had required it. Every good general chooses rather to sacrifice his life in battle, than his country and honor. When existing circumstances, call to a most dangerous post, he readily exposes his own person. And so will all other good military characters in places below him, when called to dangerous posts.

In these words, let us play the men, we discern civility and decency. Though the army were under this general’s absolute command, yet he addressed them not as a pack of slaves and poltroons, nor in profane language, as too many have, to the shame of humanity; but as men, his fellow creatures, whom he respected, and who had a right to civil, human treatment. Such treatment conciliates esteem, and leads to obedience from a principle of love, which is a nobler incentive to action, than fear. Playing the men, imports doing bravely and valiantly. The sacred historian, in another place narrating this speech, thus varies the phraseology, let us behave ourselves valiantly. Playing the men, and behaving valiantly, are nearly, or quite synonymous terms. To play the men in battle, none can, unless they behave valiantly.

(From A Sermon – Addressed to the 13th Regiment of Infantry in the Army of the United States of America on the Lord’s-day, August 25, 1799 – by Josiah Whitney, Pastor of the First Church of Brooklyn.)

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