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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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Government Growth And The Economy

Quoting Brian M. Riedl:

In a throwback to the 1930s and 1970s, Demo­cratic lawmakers are betting that America’s economic ills can be cured by an extraordinary expansion of government. This tired approach has already failed repeatedly in the past year, in which Congress and the President:

1. Increased total federal spending by 11 percent to nearly $3 trillion;

2. Enacted $333 billion in “emergency” spending;

3. Enacted $105 billion in tax rebates; and

4. Pushed the budget deficit to $455 billion in the name of “stimulus.”

Every one of these policies failed to increase eco­nomic growth. Now, in addition to passing a $700 bil­lion financial sector rescue package, lawmakers have decided to double down on these failed spending pol­icies by proposing a $300 billion economic stimulus bill. Even though the last $455 billion in Keynesian deficit spending failed to help the economy, lawmak­ers seem to have convinced themselves that the next $300 billion will succeed.

This is not the first time government expansions have failed to produce economic growth. Massive spending hikes in the 1930s, 1960s, and 1970s all failed to increase economic growth rates. Yet in the 1980s and 1990s-when the federal government shrank by one-fifth as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)-the U.S. economy enjoyed its great­est expansion to date.

Advent Prayer

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake!…You do not know when the Master of the house is coming.'” (Mark. 13:33)

O Jesus, your voice sounds through the house of my world: Be on your guard! Stay awake!

Yet I hardly hear you. Busy with so much, I go about the things I do like a servant trapped in household routine, hardly giving a thought to what my life is about. My spirit within has grown tired and you, my God, seem far away. How can I hear your voice today?

Speak to my heart during this season of grace, as you spoke to your prophets and saints. Remind me again of the journey you call me to make and the work you would have me do. I am your servant, O Lord. Speak to me in this holy season and turn my eyes to watch for your coming.

O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples, come and dwell among us. (Anonymous)

Has FOX News Caved To Political Correctness?

FOX NEWS LOGO

FOX NEWS LOGO

The selective stupidity of political correctness seems to have infected the FOX News network. Example: “America’s Pulse” anchor E.D. Hill did a body-language segment on the Obama gesture on June 6th. The tease was how people are interpreting the fist gesture between Obama and his wife – “A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab?”

Secular progressives had a “hissy-fit” over the “terrorist fist jab” description. Media Matters launched a petition drive demanding an apology from Hill and Hill apologized saying, that she had mentioned “various ways in which the Obamas’ fist-bump in St. Paul had been characterized in the media” and she had not intended to characterize it inappropriately.

America’s Pulse anchored by E.D. Hill was then canceled by FOX News and it was later announced that Hill’s contract with Fox would not be renewed. Too bad, but there is more to this.

Atlas Shrugs notes that in 2005 the Saudis purchased 6% of FOX News. When the French riots of 2005 occurred, FOX newscasters stopped calling the Muslim rioters Muslims. Why? According to Prince al-Walid, “I picked up the phone and called Murdoch … [and told him] these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty. Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots.”

Another disturbing shift: Columnists Rush & Malloy of the New York Daily News have written that FOX has told its hosts that they must cease criticism of Obama for the near future. Roger Ailes, the Fox News boss, told prime-time hosts Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Greta Van Susteren they are to back off of criticism of Obama for the near future.

Some speculate that the FOX News Corporation expects to be a target of vindictive actions by the Obama administration. The secular progressives will always hate FOX, however, so why the brown nose?

The Carl Cameron now widely-discredited hit piece against Sarah Palin has left Fox fans particularly perplexed. It led to a huge backlash in favor of the Alaskan governor. So is FOX News going to spend the next four years tip-toeing around the secular progressive agenda? If so, its ratings will collapse.

Come Out From Among Them

From: The Desk of Charles Spurgeon

“Only ye shall not go very far away.” Exodus 8:28 – This is a crafty word from the lip of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor bondaged Israelites must needs go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies. After the same fashion, the world loves not the non-conformity of nonconformity, or the dissidence of dissent, it would have us be more charitable and not carry matters with too severe a hand.

Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even condemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. “Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little enjoyment in society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What’s the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?” Multitudes of professing-believers yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin.

If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us. We must leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls his sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, “Come ye out from among them, be ye separate.” (Morning and Evening – June 27 Devotional)

Turning The Corner On Race

From: The Desk of Gary Bauer

The election of America’s first black president represents many things. It represents a feeling of national atonement after hundreds of years of racial discrimination. It represents a clear benchmark in our nation’s quest to move beyond race in our politics.

Barack Obama’s election should also signal something to all those who have made race baiting their raison de ‘etre: dust of your résumés — it’s time to find new work.

That includes Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, whose race baiting has done a disservice to the black community by turning every grievance into yet more evidence of America’s endemic racism.

It also includes the political Left and its media allies, who have made a living off identity politics. The Left’s knee-jerk reaction to any political issue in which race, gender or ethnicity are even remotely involved is immediately to split the two sides, pitting one against the other. Then they watch as substantive debates over policy degenerate into bitter and often superficial feuds over identity.

When race and politics mingle, the Left-wing media know they can generate big ratings simply by confusing correlation (conservative opposition to a black candidate) with causation (conservative opposition to a black candidate because he’s black). Television and radio are the perfect formats to showcase the media’s feigned confusion. . . .

The Left and its media allies desperately wanted to make racism a major component in [the November 4th] election. But the exit polling told a different story.

Eighty percent of voters said race was “not a factor” in their choice for president. Interestingly, Obama beat McCain among the 20 percent of voters who said race was either a “minor factor,” “important factor” or the “most important factor” in their decision. This suggests that race may have been a net benefit to Obama.

The liberal media need to come to terms with the fact that America has turned a sharp corner on race. Once they do, with less time to devote to identity politics, perhaps they will find more time to do their job — to report real news and evaluate political candidates on their ideas and records.

Read the entire article here. . . .

Political Correctness: It Is Wrong To Point Out What Is Wrong

sheriff-politicalcorrectionPolitical correctness is a strategy used by secular progressives to silence opposition to ideas that are intellectually indefensible. Political correctness is only the pretense of tolerance, because it is limited to its own narrow-minded bias. There can be no free exchange of ideas where political correctness dominates the social norm. It is a Machiavellian tactic used even by the media to limit free speech. A.W.R. Hawkins speaks directly to the problem with political correctness:

Political correctness is a façade constructed in opposition to reality and sold as “tolerance.” Because of this, its purveyors are given to moral relevance and all who reject it are branded as “intolerant.” When properly implemented, it stifles our ability to think clearly.

Perhaps nothing epitomized this better than Reuters’ post 9/11 refusal to use the word “terrorist” in reporting the news of terrorists blowing up buildings, themselves, and others in acts of terror. Steven Jukes, Reuters global head of news, defended the refusal thus: “We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word ‘terrorist.’ To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack.”

I have just one question here: If we can’t speak the truth about terrorists determined to destroy our children, our culture and ourselves, when can we speak truth? (The politically correct response here is “what is truth?”)

We must understand that a major tenet of political correctness is that there is nothing more wrong than the act of pointing out what is wrong. Political correctness is understandably hostile to facts and its followers quite intolerant of anyone who refuses to budge on the fact that absolutes exist; for the rejection of absolutes is a most convenient way to open discussions about “the non-existence of God” in university classrooms throughout the country.

Continue reading A.W.R. Hawkins here. . . .

Charles Carroll: “The Mercy Of My Redeemer”

Charles Carroll

Charles Carroll

“On the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits, not on the works I have done in obedience to His precepts.

“Grateful to Almighty God for the blessings which, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, He had conferred on my beloved country in her emancipation and on myself in permitting me, under circumstances of mercy, to live to the age of 89 years, and to survive the fiftieth year of independence, adopted by Congress on the 4th of July 1776, which I originally subscribed on the 2d day of August of the same year and of which I am now the last surviving signer.” (Signer of The Declaration of Independence)

The Christian Patriot

patriot-logoOur fathers have made one more trial, knowing that past failures were from want of Christian principle, and that they had settled these shores expressly in obedience to Christian principle, and therefore they might hope. In faith and prayer they struggled; for they felt, that with God all things are possible in the cause of righteousness, and they hoped their children would feel this too. From the first, they set out with the idea of making this community that happy people, whose God is the Lord, – a Christian nation, – what the world had never yet seen, but what all its experience concurred in testifying it must seem or it would never see the amount of prosperity man is capable of attaining on earth. A Christian people! Not merely a sober, industrious people, without religion, if such could be expected, but distinctively a Christian people. Bright and glorious idea, far-seeing wisdom, true friends, and see its kingdoms prospering at this time just in proportion as they come near realizing this idea, other elements of their greatness being the same . . . But, if there were not fear of hypocrisy, verily and indeed happy would be that people, with whom God was effectively their Lord through the strict observances of such a rule. Then might we see such a phenomenon as a Christian people.

As it is, let us, – and it seems more incumbent on us than on any nation that lives in the sun’s more expressive, than as a mere geographical term. When we are called a Christian nation, let us allow more the meant, than that we are not savages or barbarians, or only semi-civilized, as all those nations are in which Christianity is unknown. Christian should be more than European or American, as distinguished from Asiatic or African. It should be more than latitude and longitude; more than eastern or western, northern or southern; more than tropics and zones, equator and ecliptic, arctic or Antarctic.

And how can we make a Christian nation? To become so, must be an individual, not a collective act. Legislation cannot do it, if legislation would. Resolves of majorities, in caucus or in Congress, in towns or by states, or even unanimous votes, is not the way to affect it. The simple and sole process is for each person privately to resolve, for his single part, no influence in legislative deliberations, no political name or fame whatever, – nay, the shrinking woman and child, whose deliberations look not beyond the homestead, or who can legislate only over their own hearts, – these can add a stone, as truly as the mightiest statesman or the loudest demagogue, to build up the national temple to the Lord. Public opinion is the life-breath of our own government, and therefore to Christianize that, we have but to Christianize ourselves. O what it is ye may achieve! No such power as this is possessed by the subjects of any government but yours. They cannot regenerate their sovereign. They cannot even pray for his conversion with hope, the assurance, of the prayer being granted if sincere, which may warm your breasts.

And is there a consideration of earth or heaven that is not present and potent to move us to this prayer? Pour it out to God, if righteousness would have but the promise of the life that now is. If a majority of the citizens were sincere followers of Jesus Christ, is it not evident, the councils of this nation would be wiser and mightier, its progress more glorious, its dominion even more potent than any the world has ever seen? The day when it shall be resolved, that the same evangelical principles shall govern states that govern churches and gospel professors in their private relations, would be the true jubilee of freedom. That will be the mind’s and the soul’s declaration of independence. That will be breaking every yoke at length from body, and heart, and spirit. Thenceforth slavery, in any form, would be but a tradition and a name; whereas now it is the commonest of conditions, and to the mass liberty is but a name; for he that serveth any sin is the slave of sin. That day will come, when the people choose.

Choose it, resolve it, O my brethren, as the first of civil duties. Whatever your party predilections, sacrifice them all for the party of righteous men. Support no administration, and oppose none, but on the ground of moral principle. Go with them as far as Jesus Christ would go, and no further. Read the constitution by the light of the Gospel. The Savior be your paramount leader. (Rev. Mellish Irving Motte, Sermon, 1840)

The Commercialization Of Thanksgiving

From: The Desk of Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day up one week earlier than had been tradition, to appease merchants who wanted more time to feed the growing pre-Christmas consumer frenzy. Folding to congressional pressure two years later, Roosevelt signed a resolution returning Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November, as Congress in 1941 permanently set the fourth Thursday of each November as our national day of Thanksgiving.

Roosevelt’s inclination to subsume Thanksgiving for commercial interests foretold much of the secular inversion of “thanksgiving” to come. In autumns we now exist amid the oppression of crass materialism in advance of that December day when we give thanks for the birth of Christ, oppression vastly different but somehow remarkably similar to that experienced by our Pilgrim forefathers in England. And, at all times we move amid the seduction of cultural decadence in our everyday lives, again remarkably similar to that tempting our Pilgrim forebears and their families in Holland. Nevertheless, for all the decay and dissolution assailing us, we are still at our core, a nation deeply blessed by God. In our age of great, widespread physical and material comfort, and sensory satiety and satiation, our deepest deficits are spiritual ones — most especially, a lack of accurate perception of the depth and breadth of the bounties that God alone has bestowed upon us. Too often, we look to government as the provider and guarantor of the many blessings we enjoy, rather than to our Heavenly Father. And, also too often, we forget to gratefully cherish the best of our national blessings, that liberty for which our Pilgrim forebears were willing to risk all comfort and security. As Abraham Lincoln noted so many years ago, “…[It is] announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord….It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

[During this Thanksgiving season], may God rest your heart and mind, may He bless and keep you and your family, and may He continue to extend His blessings upon our great nation, guiding us one and all by His Word. May He grant us patience and perseverance in the unexpected turns and tests of our age. May He impress upon us the spirit of our forefathers, their soul-deep craving for freedom, expressed with courage and wisdom, as we meet the particular challenges of our days.

And let us always approach our Heavenly Father with true thankfulness — not just today, but every day — not only in our triumphs, but also in our trials — by acknowledging our utter dependence on Him to supply our wants and needs, for in Him we live and move and have our being. Even self-reliance is, at its root, reliance on Him:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 4:6-7

Is Christianity A Benign Choice?

From: The Desk of Gary DeMar

Nearly every social commentator appeals to the conservative Christian community to be tolerant of other religious traditions. After all, we live in a religiously pluralistic society. The assumption is that religion is a benign choice, little different from picking one car model over another. Therefore all religious traditions should be tolerated and accepted as valid expressions of faith. In biblical terms, such an approach to differing religious opinions cannot be tolerated since eternal consequences are at stake. There is no neutrality. God does not tolerate rival religions, and neither should we.

Of course, in terms of the religious pluralism paradigm, I have blasphemed. I have insulted today’s pantheon of gods and goddesses, whoever or whatever they might be. The gods, in addition to being crazy, will also be angry with me because I dare to proclaim without reservation that all religions, no matter how well intentioned, are false except biblical Christianity. Jesus made it clear that there is one God, and He does not share His glory with another. All those who claim to be gods or goddesses are usurpers who have no more a spark of divinity than a block of wood (Isa. 40:20).

I am tired of hearing Christians talk about “people of faith. . . .”

Continue reading. . . .

Elias Boudinot: “We Are Christians”

Elias Boudinot

Elias Boudinot

“Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned… [L]et us earnestly call and beseech Him, for Christ’s sake, to preside in our councils. . . . We can only depend on the all powerful influence of the Spirit of God, Whose Divine aid and assistance it becomes us as a Christian people most devoutly to implore. Therefore I move that some minister of the Gospel be requested to attend this Congress every morning . . . in order to open the meeting with prayer.” (President of Congress, Framer of The Bill of Rights)

A Thanksgiving Proclamation Of 1791

This is the text of the November 21, 1791 William Paterson Thanksgiving Day proclamation, as he served as governor of New Jersey; as printed in the Gazette of the United States, November 26, 1791.

By His Excellency

William Paterson, Esquire,

Governor, Captain-General, and Commander in Chief in and over the State of New-Jersey, and territories thereunto belonging, Chanceler, and Ordinary in the same.

Proclamation.

Whereas it is, at all times, our duty to approach the throne of Almighty God with gratitude and praise, but more especially in seasons of national peace, plenty, and prosperity; I have, therefore, thought fit, by and with the advice and consent of the Honorable the Privy Council, to assign Thursday the eighth day of December next, to be set apart and observed as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer for the great and manifold mercies conferred upon this land and people; and particularly for the abundant produce of the earth, during the present year, for the spirit of industry, sobriety, and economy which prevails: for the stability and extension of our national credit and commerce, for the progress of literature, arts and science, and for the good order, peace and plenty, and the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed. And also that we may unite in our supplications, and humbly implore the Almighty Ruler of the Universe, that he would be pleased to continue his protection and goodness to this land and people, to smile upon all schools and seminaries of learning; to promote agriculture, manufactures and commerce, to illuminate and guide our public councils, to bless our national and state governments, to enable us all to discharge our official, social and relative duties with diligence and fidelity, to eradicate prejudice, bigotry and superstition; to advance the interest of religion, and the knowledge and practice of virtue; and for this purpose to pour out his holy spirit on all ministers of the gospel, and to spread the saving light thereof to the most distant parts of the earth.

Given under my hand and seal at arms, at Trenton, the twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one.

William Patterson.
By his Excellency’s command.
Bowes Reed, Sec’ry.

A Thanksgiving Thought On Remembering God

first-landing-pilgrims-hus1-57

11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy)

The Pilgrims In America

mayflowerFrom: The Desk of Dr. C. Matthew McMahon

Upon landing in America, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service, then quickly turned to building shelters. Starvation and sickness during the ensuing New England winter killed almost half their population, but through prayer and hard work, with the assistance of their Indian friends, the Pilgrims reaped a rich harvest in the summer of 1621. Most of what we know about the Pilgrim Thanksgiving of 1621 comes from original accounts of the young colony’s leaders, Governor William Bradford and Master Edward Winslow, in their own hand.

“They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being well recovered in health & strength, and had all things in good plenty; for some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod, & bass, & other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want. And now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degree). And besides water fowl, there was great store of wild Turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, &c. Besides they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to yet proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty hear to their friends in England, which were not false, but true reports.” W.B. (William Bradford) [English updated]

“Our Corn did proud well, & God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian Corn, and our Barley indifferent good, but our Peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown, they came up very well, and blossomed, but the Sun parched them in the blossom; our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a more special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruit of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoyt, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed upon our Governor, and upon the Captain, and others. And although it is not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.” E.W. (Edward Winslow) Plymouth, in New England, this 11th of December, 1621. [English updated]

The feast included foods suitable for a head table of honored guests, such as the chief men of the colony and Native leaders Massasoit (“Great Leader” also known as Ousamequin “Yellow Feather”), the sachem (chief) of Pokanoket (Pokanoket is the area at the head of Narragansett Bay). Venison, wild fowl, turkeys and Indian corn were the staples of the meal, which likely also included other food items known to have been aboard the Mayflower or available in Plymouth, such as spices, Dutch cheese, wild grapes, lobster, cod, native melons, pumpkin (pompion) and rabbit.

By the mid-17th century, the custom of autumnal Thanksgivings was established throughout New England. Observance of Thanksgiving Festivals began to spread southward during the American Revolution, as the newly established Congress officially recognized the need to celebrate this holy day.

There Is No Left Or Right – Only Up Or Down

I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this.

It’s time we asked ourselves if we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers. James Madison said, “We base all our experiments on the capacity of mankind for self government.”

This idea — that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power — is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. . . .

You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream–the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, “The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.” – Ronald Reagan

From: “A Time For Choosing”

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