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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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How To Conduct Yourself As A Christian

Jonathan Edwards offers a friend advice on living as a Christian in the following letter dated 1741:

My Dear Young Friend,

As you desired me to send you, in writing, some directions how to conduct yourself in your Christian course, I would now answer your request. The sweet remembrance of the great things I have lately seen at S – , inclines me to do any thing in my power, to contribute to the spiritual joy and prosperity of God’s people there.

1. I would advise you to keep up as great a strife and earnestness in religion, as if you knew yourself to be in a state of nature, and were seeking conversion. We advise persons under conviction, to be earnest and violent for the kingdom of heaven; but when they have attained to conversion, they ought not to be the less watchful, laborious, and earnest, in the whole work of religion, but the more so; for they are under infinitely greater obligations. For want of this, many persons, in a few months after their conversion, have begun to lose their sweet and lively sense of spiritual things, and to grow cold and dark, and have ‘pierced themselves through with many sorrows;’ whereas, if they had done as the apostle did, (Philippians 3:12-14.) their path would have been ‘as the shining light, that it shines more and more unto the perfect day.’

2. Do not leave off seeking, striving, and praying for the very same things that we exhort unconverted persons to strive for, and a degree of which you have had already in conversion. Pray that your eyes may be opened, that you may receive sight, that you may know yourself, and be brought to God’s footstool; and that you may see the glory of God and Christ, and may be raised from the dead, and have the love of Christ shed abroad in your heart. Those who have most of these things, have need still to pray for them; for there is so much blindness and hardness, pride and death remaining, that they still need to have that work of God wrought upon them, further to enlighten and enliven them, that shall be bringing them out of darkness into God’s marvelous light, and be a kind of new conversion and resurrection from the dead. There are very few requests that are proper for an impenitent man, that are not also, in some sense, proper for the godly.

3. When you hear a sermon, hear for yourself. Though what is spoken may be more especially directed to the unconverted, or to those that, in other respect, are in different circumstances from yourself; yet, let the chief intent of your mind be to consider, ‘In what respect is this applicable to me? and what improvement ought I to make of this, for my own soul’s good?’

4. Though God has forgiven and forgotten your past sins, yet do not forget them yourself: often remember what a wretched bond-slave you were in the land of Egypt. Often bring to mind your particular acts of sin before conversion; as the blessed apostle Paul is often mentioning his old blaspheming, persecuting spirit, and his injuriousness to the renewed; humbling his heart, and acknowledging that he was ‘the least of the apostles,’ and not worthy ‘to be called an apostle,’ and the ‘least of all saints,’ and the ‘chief of sinners;’ and be often confessing your old sins to God, and let that text be often in your mind, (Ezekiel 16:63.) ‘that thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God.’

5. Remember, that you have more cause, on some accounts, a thousand times, to lamest and humble yourself for sins that have been committed since conversion, than before, because of the infinitely greater obligations that are upon you to live to God, and to look upon the faithfulness of Christ, in unchangeably continuing his loving-kindness, notwithstanding all your great unworthiness since your conversion.

6. Be always greatly abased for your remaining sin, and never think that you lie low enough for it; but yet be not discouraged or disheartened by it; for, though we are exceeding sinful, yet we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; the preciousness of whose blood, the merit of whose righteousness, and the greatness of whose love and faithfulness, infinitely overtop the highest mountains of our sins.

7. When you engage in the duty of prayer, or come to the Lord’s supper, or attend any other duty of divine worship, come to Christ as Mary Magdalene did; (Luke 7:37, 38.) come, and cast yourself at his feet, and kiss them, and pour forth upon him the sweet perfumed ointment of divine love, out of a pure and broken heart, as she poured the precious ointment out of her pure broken alabaster box.

8. Remember, that pride is the worst viper that is in the heart, the greatest disturber of the souls peace, and of sweet communion with Christ: it was the first sin committed, and lies lowest in the foundation of Satan’s whole building, and is with the greatest difficulty rooted out, and is the most hidden, secret, and deceitful of all lusts, and often creeps insensibly into the midst of religion, even, sometimes, under the disguise of humility itself.

9. That you may pass a correct judgment concerning yourself, always look upon those as the best discoveries, and the best comforts, that have most of these two effects: those that make you least and lowest, and most like a child; and those that most engage and fix your heart, in a full and firm disposition to deny yourself for God, and to spend and be spent for him.

Continue reading here. . . .

Can You Discern The Voice of The Enemy?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

Do you wish to possess discernment and understanding? Then you must become a student of wisdom and truth. Many wish to be discerning but fail to discipline themselves in hearing and studying the Word of God. John Murray (October 14, 1898 – May 8, 1975) was a Scottish-born Reformed theologian who taught at Princeton Seminary and then left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary, where he taught for many years. He shares with us these thoughts on discernment:

A shepherd protects his sheep from their enemies. Wolves enter in among the sheep. The wolves which harass the church of God are emissaries of false doctrine and of evil practice. Satan is never out of his diocese and his specialty is to destroy the pure witness and the fellowship of the church of God. Perhaps there is no more ominous feature of members of the church than the lack of discernment; they can listen to what is good and true, and to what is bad and false, without discrimination. If we are to live in a world where the enemy is active and error is rampant, we must be imbued with a good measure of critical faculty, and here the elders in tending the flock must cultivate for themselves, and inculcate in the members of the church, that sensitivity to truth and right, so that they and the people will be able to detect the voice of the enemy.

Jesus said of His sheep, “a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5).

But this discernment does not operate in a vacuum, and it does not act mechanically; it acts in the context of intelligent apprehension and understanding of the truth. (Collected Writings of John Murray, v1)

The Political Left Seeks “Common Ground” With The Church

Joel McDurmon has written a truly excellent article titled, “Jim Wallis and Barack Obama: On Common Ground.” Ask yourself the following question and then read this article: “Does my Christianity guide my political thinking or does my political thinking guide my Christianity?”

“Religious thinkers and activists like our good friend Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo are lifting up the Biblical injunction to help the poor as a means of mobilizing Christians against budget cuts to social programs and growing inequality.” – Barack Obama


On August 16, 2008, Pastor Rick Warren hosted sequential cross examinations of Barack Obama and John McCain. He asked hardball questions that are of major interest to members of Protestant evangelical churches. He forced them to talk straight about the evangelicals’ agenda. This is as it should be: bi-partisan cross examination. They came to his party; he did not come to theirs.

This is completely different from ideological allies of either Obama or McCain coming into local congregations and promoting their candidate’s agenda in the name of the Bible, when in fact the Bible teaches the opposite of what their candidate says he stands for.

Yet this is happening today. To perceive what is going on, evangelicals had better be aware of three things: (1) what the Bible says regarding some crucial issues; (2) what the candidates are saying on these issues; (3) who these candidates’ allies are inside the churches, and how they are misusing the Bible to promote their candidates’ positions.

I begin with Barack Obama. . . .

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