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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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President Dwight D. Eisenhower Prayed At His Inauguration

Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the Executive Branch of government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere.

Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race, or calling.

May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory.

Amen

John Adams On Liberty

John Adams wrote this quote in a letter to Abigail Adams in 1775 concerning American liberty:

But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.

An Election Prayer For Discernment

My Lord, You value so deeply the qualities of good judgment and discernment, but it is easy for us to lose sight of them. Give all those who will vote in this year’s elections a sense of discernment and sound judgment, and let that discernment in turn bring discerning leaders into office. –Proverbs 3:21 (My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight).

TH: FreeRepublic

Taxes And The Constitution

From: The Desk of Gary DeMar

The Constitution of 1787 set forth the taxing powers of the federal government in relation to its stated, delegated function. Taxes were collected for specified governmental purposes as they were actually listed in the Constitution. If the Constitution did not specify a particular function or purpose, the federal government (Congress) had no power to collect taxes for it. The created national government was governed by the Constitution. Elected officials take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and even append their claim with “So help me God.”

On the federal level, taxes were essentially “Duties, Imposts and Excises” whose purpose was “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States” (Art. 1, Sec. 8). General Welfare was defined in the body of the Constitution. A careful reader will note that “general welfare” did not mean aid to some at the expense of others, as James Madison was quick to point out: “But what color can the objection have [that the phrase ‘general welfare’ is not specified by particulars], when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? . . . Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars . . . .” The modem concept of general welfare is most often defined in terms of wealth redistribution where some members of society (“the rich”) are taxed heavily in order to benefit the “welfare” of others (“the poor”). General welfare, according to the Constitution, means welfare that benefits everybody. This can be clearly seen in providing “for the common Defense.” Taxes collected to defend the nation benefit everybody generally. Taxing some people so other people can have decent housing or an education is not general welfare; it’s particular welfare.

“We the people” often blame Congress for “earmarks” and deficit spending, but it’s “we the people” who call on Congress to legislate in terms of these blatant unconstitutional policies, whether it be increased education spending, universal healthcare, government-insured mortgages, education loans at artificially low interest rates, a windfall profits tax, or a bailout when the economy goes south.

A study of some decisions of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government in the area of “general Welfare” will support the view that taxes could not be used to aid states or individuals:

Continue reading. . . .

What Is Reformation Day?

Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31st or the last weekend in October in remembrance of the Reformation. Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 Theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg’s main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular.

Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. While it had profound and lasting impacts on the political, economic, social, literary, and artistic aspects of modern society, the Reformation was at its heart a religious movement. The Reformation was the great rediscovery of the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church had been plagued by false doctrines, superstition, ignorance, and corruption. Since most ordinary Christians were illiterate and had little knowledge of the Bible, they relied on their clergy for religious instruction and guidance. Tragically however, monks, priests, bishops, and even the popes in Rome taught unbiblical doctrines like purgatory and salvation through good works. Spiritually earnest people tried to justify themselves by charitable works, pilgrimages, and all kinds of religious performances and devotions, but they were left wondering if they had done enough to escape God’s anger and punishment.

The truth of the gospel — the good news that God is loving and merciful, that He offers forgiveness and salvation not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has already done for us — was largely forgotten by both clergy and laity. The Holy Spirit used an Augustinian monk and university professor named Martin Luther to restore the gospel to its rightful place as the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity. Martin Luther and his colleagues came to understand that if we sinners had to earn salvation by our own merits and good works, we would be lost and completely without hope. But through the working of the Holy Spirit, the reformers rediscovered the gospel — the wonderful news that Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again to redeem and justify us.

As Luther wrote in his explanation of the Second Article of the Apostles’ Creed:

“I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity.”

This is most certainly true. On Reformation Day, we glorify God for what he accomplished in 16th century Germany through His servant, Dr. Martin Luther — the recovery of the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We also earnestly pray that God would keep all of us faithful to the true gospel and help us to joyfully declare it to the world.

George Washington’s Prayer for the United States of America

Almighty God,

We make our earnest prayer

– that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection,

– that thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government;

– and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large.

And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all

– to do justice,

– to love mercy and

– to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.

Grant our supplication, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Amen

George Washington, April 30th, 1789

Money Pours Into California Over Gay Marriage Vote

At least 64,000 people from all 50 states and more than 20 other countries have given money to support or oppose a ban on same-sex marriage in California, reflecting broad interest in a race that some consider second in national importance only to the presidential election.

Ten days before the vote on Proposition 8, campaign finance records show that total contributions for and against the measure have surpassed $60 million, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

That would be a record nationally for a ballot initiative based on a social rather than economic issue, campaign finance experts say. It also eclipses the combined total of $33 million spent in the 24 states where similar measures have been put to voters since 2004.

If approved by California voters, Proposition 8 would overturn a state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages by changing the state constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Continue reading. . . .

A Platform For Life

What the Republicans Support:

  • The Republicans support protecting the unborn, the elderly and infirm, those with disabilities, and all human life.
  • The Republicans support traditional family values.
  • The Republicans support Parental Notification laws to protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape.
  • The Republicans support the development of alternatives to abortion, especially adoption, and related support systems for these alternatives.
  • The Republicans support a Human Life amendment to the Constitution to further protect these values.

What the Republicans Oppose:

  • The Republicans oppose abortion.
  • The Republicans oppose euthanasia.
  • The Republicans oppose assisted suicide.
  • The Republicans oppose the use of public revenues to promote, advocate or perform abortions.
  • The Republicans believe that any infant born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to newborn infants. – – – – (Democrat candidate Barack Obama voted in favor of allowing these infants to die, when he was in the Illinois Senate).

Do The Democrats Deserve A Media Pass On The Economy?

From: The Desk of Emmett Tyrrell

How is it that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has been damaged badly by this financial crisis while the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, is presenting himself successfully as a financial genius capable of working Christ’s miracle of the loaves and fishes on our economy?

The financial markets froze up because the Democrats prevailed on mortgage lenders — mainly Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac — to relax standards against thitherto unqualified property buyers. They did it out of an ideological commitment to their thesis that poor people living in private homes would be better citizens. It was a noble vision. Yet it was economically untenable. A huge real estate bubble resulted, and now that the bubble has burst, the entire economy is imperiled.

Curiously, the Democrats have not suffered the consequences of their “deregulation” of the mortgage market. Instead, they have hung the “deregulation” canard on McCain. As the record makes clear, it is McCain who signed on to a letter with 19 other Republican senators in 2006 calling for the tightening up of Fannie’s and Freddie’s loans. Even before that, in the summer of 2005, Republican Sen. Richard Shelby fashioned a bill in the Senate Banking Committee to impose stricter regulations on Fannie and Freddie, only to see it blocked from getting to the Senate floor by a party-line vote, which kept it in committee. The Republicans favored this regulation tightening. The Democrats opposed it.

In an early example of his slipperiness, Sen. Obama stood with his fellow Democrats in opposing the bill. Then he went on record opposing his own vote by writing the secretary of the Treasury that subprime mortgages are dangerous. As has been said of other evasive politicians, Obama is a chameleon on plaid. Apparently, a chameleon on plaid can escape having the media hold him accountable even as he boldly opposes stricter regulations on subprime loans while writing the Treasury to oppose such loans. Yet how is it that the media have given the entire Democratic Party a pass on its advocacy of subprime loans?

A 2008 Election Message From Fred Thompson

Should A Christian Participate In Halloween?

The CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS AND RESEARCH MINISTRY provides us with an answer:

The word Halloween is derived from the term “All Hallows Eve” which occurred on Oct. 31, the end of summer in Northwestern Europe. “All Saints Day,” or “All Hallows Day” was the next Day, Nov. 1st. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.

Apparently, the origins of Halloween can be traced back to ancient Ireland and Scotland around the time of Christ. On Oct. 31st, the Celts celebrated the end of summer. This was important because it was when animal herders would move their animals into barns and pens and prepare to ride out the winter. This was also the time of the crop harvests. This annual change of season and lifestyle was marked by a festival called Samhain — pronounced ‘sow-ane’ and means ‘end of summer.’ Sow rhythms with cow.

There was much superstition associated with this time of change including the belief in fairies, and that the spirits of the dead wandered around looking for bodies to inhabit. Since the living did not want to be possessed by spirits, they dressed up in costumes and paraded around the streets making loud noises to confuse and frighten the spirits away. In addition, the new year began for the Celts on Nov. 1. So, the day of Samhain was believed to be a day that was in neither the year past or the year to come. Since it was in between, chaos ruled on that day. Often, people would pull practical jokes on others as a result.

Later, around the 5th century, as the Catholic Church developed and moved into the area, instead of adding a new day to celebrate, it took over the Samhain celebration. Nov. 1st became “All Hallows Eve” where all the saints of the Catholic church were honored. A later custom developed where people would go door-to-door on Nov. 2, requesting small cakes in exchange for the promise of saying prayers for some of the dead relatives of each house. This arose out of the religious belief that the dead were in a state of limbo before they went to heaven or hell and that the prayers of the living could influence the outcome. This may have been the precursor to Trick-or Treat.

The Jack-0-Lantern apparently comes from Irish folklore about a man named Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree. Once the devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross on the trunk, preventing the devil from coming down. The devil then made a deal with Jack to not allow Jack into hell after Jack died if only Jack would remove the cross from the tree. After Jack died, he couldn’t go to hell, and he couldn’t go to heaven. He was forced to wander around the earth with a single candle to light his way. The candle was placed in a turnip to keep it burning longer. When the Irish came to America in the 1800’s, they adopted the pumpkin instead of the turnip. Along with these traditions, they brought the idea that the black cat was considered by some to be reincarnated spirits who had prophetic abilities.

So, it appears that the origins of Halloween are a mixture of old Celtic pagan rituals superstition and early Catholic traditions.

What does the Bible say about Halloween? Nothing. But it does speak concerning witches, the occult, and paganism.

Exodus 22:18, You shall not let a witch live.

Deut. 18:10-12, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…”

The Bible definitely speaks negatively about occultic practices, spirits, and witches and condemns not only the practice but also the people who are involved in it. As Christians, we are to have nothing to do with the occult. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all unbiblical and can harm a Christian’s fellowship with God and open the Christian to demonic oppression. Most Christians know this and avoid these activities. But, the question still remains. Since there are ancient pagan connections and present occultic connections, what is the Christian to do?

Can the Christian celebrate Halloween?

The answer is simple: Yes and No. Let’s look at the negative first.

The Christian is not to be involved with or support the occult, witchcraft, demonism, or any other thing that uplifts the occult. To do so is to contradict God’s word, dabble in demonic spirits, and invite judgment from God. If a Halloween celebration is centered on demons, devils, spirits, etc., I would say don’t have anything to do with it.

On the other hand, it isn’t wrong to dress up in a costume and go door-to-door saying ‘Trick or Treat.” Provided that the costume isn’t demonic, I can’t see anything wrong with this. It’s just fun for the kids.

Take a look at the Christmas tree. It was originally an ancient fertility symbol. Yet, it has become a representation of Christmas and the place where gifts are placed. Are the Christians, then, paying homage to an ancient pagan fertility god? No. Not at all. They do not consider it pagan at all and are simply joining in on a cultural event and giving no honor to anything unbiblical.

In the Bible in 1 Cor. 10:23-33, Paul speaks about meat sacrificed to idols. This meat was often sold in the meat market and the question arose, “Should a Christian each such meat?”

Paul said in verse 25, “Eat anything that is sold in the meat market, without asking questions for conscience’ sake.” This is most interesting. He says it is okay to eat the meat bought in the market place even though that meat may have been sacrificed to idols.

Then in verses 28-29 he says, “But if anyone should say to you, ‘This is meat sacrificed to idols,’ do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?” (NASB). Paul is saying that if you find out the meat was sacrificed to idols, don’t eat it — not because of you, but because of the other person. In other words, eating that meat won’t affect you. But, it may affect the attitude of another who does not understand the freedom the Christian has in Christ.

Is it any different with Halloween (or Christmas)? No. Even though Halloween has pagan origins, because of your freedom in Christ, you and/or your kids can dress up in costumes and go door-to-door and just have fun. However, if you are not comfortable with doing this, then you should not. If you know of a person who would be stumbled by doing it, then you shouldn’t either.

What America Needs

From: The Desk of Fred Thompson

We need a president who understands that you don’t make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don’t lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history. Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases. They tell you they are not going to tax your family. No, they’re just going to tax “businesses”! So unless you buy something from a “business”, like groceries or clothes or gasoline… or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small “business,” don’t worry… it’s not going to affect you. They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the “other” side of the bucket! That’s their idea of tax reform.

The Senate has always had more than its share of smooth talkers. And big talkers. It still has…[T]he Democrats present a history making nominee for president. History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for President. Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat-controlled Congress. History making because it’s the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation’s history.

We need a president and vice president who will take the federal bureaucracy by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shaking. And we need a president who doesn’t think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade. The man who will be that president is John McCain.

John McCain’s bones may have been broken but his spirit never was. Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be president. But it does reveal character. This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders. Strength. Courage. Humility. Wisdom. Duty. Honor. A man who never quits is never defeated.

The respect [McCain] is given around the world is not because of a teleprompter speech designed to appeal to American critics abroad, but because of decades of clearly demonstrated character and statesmanship. It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, “Who is this man?” and “Can we trust this man with the presidency?”

An Election Prayer For Christian Leaders

Heavenly Father, You promise to bless us with rejoicing when righteous leaders are in charge. So we ask You for godly, good leaders who will bring joy to those they lead. Do not allow any wicked persons to gain public office on November 4th, but only those who will honor You. –Proverbs 29:2 (When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.)

TH: FreeRepublic

The Courts And The Future Of The Majority

“Under an Obama administration, it is not far-fetched to see the day when liberal federal judges decide that religious organizations must lose their tax exemptions should they refuse to employ homosexuals or others they regard as engaging in deviant behavior. Court challenges against those who believe homosexual behavior is sinful seem to be occurring with greater frequency… The aim of the gay rights lobby is to destroy all remnants of biblical values and societal norms. Gay rights advocates will take their agenda to federal courts as soon as sufficient numbers of liberal judges are there to give them what they want. Watch them vote in overwhelming numbers for Barack Obama. He is their future. This election is, among other things, about the future of the majority and whether we want this country to be shaped by the courts, or by ‘we the people’.” -Cal Thomas

Twenty Muslim Strategies To Conquer The US

Dr. Anis Shorrosh lists below twenty Islamic strategies that are being used to take over the United States without firing a bullet:

1. Terminate America’s freedom of speech by replacing it with hate crime bills state-wide and nation-wide.

2. Wage a war of words using black leaders like Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other visible religious personalities to promote Islam as the original African-American’s religion while Christianity is for the whites! Strange enough, no one tells the African-Americans that it was the Arab Muslims who captured them and sold them as slaves, neither the fact that in Arabic the word for black and slave is the same, “Abed.”

3. Engage the American public in dialogues, discussions, debates in colleges, universities, public libraries, radio, TV, churches and mosques on the virtues of Islam. Proclaim how it is historically another religion like Judaism and Christianity with the same monotheistic faith.

4. Nominate Muslim sympathizers to political office for favorable legislation to Islam and support potential sympathizers by block voting.

5. Take control of as much of Hollywood, the press, TV, radio and the internet by buying the corporations or a controlling stock.

6. Yield to the fear of imminent shut-off of the lifeblood of America – the black gold. America’s economy depends on oil, (1000 products are derived from oil), so does its personal and industrial transportation and manufacturing -41%comes from the Middle East.

7. Yell, “foul, out-of-context, personal interpretation, hate crime, Zionist, un- American, inaccurate interpretation of the Quran” anytime Islam is criticized or the Quran is analyzed in the public arena.

8. Encourage Muslims to penetrate the White House, specifically with Islamists who can articulate a marvelous and peaceful picture of Islam. Acquire government positions, get membership in local school boards. Train Muslims as medical doctors to dominate the medical field, research and pharmaceutical companies. Take over the computer industry. Establish Middle Eastern restaurants throughout the U.S. to connect planners of Islamization in a discreet way. Ever notice how numerous Muslim doctors in America are, when their countries need them more desperately than America?

9. Accelerate Islamic demographic growth via:

a. Massive immigration (100,000 annually since 1961)

b. No birth control whatsoever – every baby of Muslim parents is automatically a Muslim and cannot choose another religion later.

c. Muslim men must marry American women and Islamize them (10,000 annually).Then divorce them and remarry every five years – since one cannot have the Muslim legal permission to marry four at one time. This is a legal solution in America.

d. Convert angry, alienated black inmates and turn them into militants (so far2000 released inmates have joined Al Qaida world-wide). Only a few have been captured in Afghanistan and on American soil. So far – sleeping cells!

10. Reading, writing, arithmetic and research through the American educational system, mosques and student centers (now 1500) should be sprinkled with dislike of Jews, evangelical Christians and democracy. There are 300 exclusively Muslim schools with loyalty to the Quran, not the U.S. Constitution.

11. Provide very sizeable monetary Muslim grants to colleges and universities in America to establish “Centers for Islamic studies” with Muslim directors to promote Islam in higher education institutions.

12. Let the entire world know through propaganda, speeches, seminars, local and national media that terrorists have hijacked Islam, not the truth, which is Islam hijacked the terrorists. Furthermore in January of 2002, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Washington mailed 4500 packets of the Quran, videos, promoting Islam to America’s high schools–free. They would never allow us to reciprocate.

13. Appeal to the historically compassionate and sensitive Americans for sympathy and tolerance towards the Muslims in America who are portrayed as mainly immigrants from oppressed countries.

14. Nullify America’s sense of security by manipulating the intelligence community with misinformation. Periodically terrorize Americans of impending attacks on bridges, tunnels, water supplies, airports, apartment buildings and malls. (We have experienced this too often since 9-11.)

15. Form riots and demonstrations in the prison system demanding Islamic Sharia as the way of life, not American’s justice system.

16. Open numerous charities throughout the U.S. but use the funds to support Islamic terrorism with American dollars.

17. Raise interest in Islam on America’s campuses by insisting that freshman take at least one course on Islam. Be sure that the writer is a bonafide American, Christian, scholarly and able to cover up the violence in the Quran and express the peaceful, spiritual and religious aspect only.

18. Unify the numerous Muslim lobbies in Washington, mosques, Islamic student centers, educational organizations, magazines and papers by internet and an annual convention to coordinate plans, propagate the faith and engender news in the media of their visibility.

19. Send intimidating messages and messengers to the outspoken individuals who are critical of Islam and seek to eliminate them by hook or crook.

20. Applaud Muslims as loyal citizens of the US by spotlighting their voting record as the highest percentage of all minority and ethic groups in America.

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