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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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Do You Believe In Jesus Christ?

john_3_16_draftWhat does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ? What is believing? What is the nature of faith? Many make the answers to these questions much harder than they really are because of pride. Believing in Christ is not acknowledging who He is. Head knowledge is important but it is not saving faith. A person can know many things about the historical Jesus, but that alone does not save.

Although feeling and faith are connected, feeling alone is no sign of true belief. Feelings are fickle. Feelings come and go. We may be inclined toward belief in the Gospel because of great emotions, but yet remain unchanged in our hearts concerning our worldly passions.

Do you trust Christ without a second thought? Are you convicted of sin in your heart? True belief is submission to Christ as your all-in-all. It simply acknowledges Christ as your only hope of salvation. The conviction of sin accompanied by trust in Christ as the only One who can save, is the exact time of true belief and the beginning of saving faith. Here lies the important answer to the question: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?”

George Whitefield: “Has Not God Revealed Himself?”

“How foolishly then do the disputing infidels of this generation act, who are continually either calling for signs from heaven, or seeking for outward evidence to prove the truth of divine revelation? Whereas, what they so earnestly seek for is nigh unto, nay, within them. For let them but consult their own hearts, they cannot but feel what they want. Let them but consult the lively oracles of God, and they cannot but see a remedy revealed for all their wants, and that the written word does as exactly answer the wants and desires of their hearts, as face answers to face in the water. Where then is the scribe, where is the wise, where is the solidity of the reasoning of the disputers of this world? Has not God revealed himself unto them, as plain as their own hearts could wish? And yet they require a sign: but there shall no other sign be given them. For if they believe not a revelation which is every way so suited to their wants, neither will they be persuaded though one should rise from the dead.” (Sermon, “The Duty of Searching the Scriptures”)

Jonathan Edwards: “That He Might Win Christ”

“We should follow him [Paul] in his earnestness in seeking his own salvation. He was not careless and indifferent in this matter; but the kingdom of heaven suffered violence from him. He did not halt between two opinions, or seek with a wavering, unsteady mind, but with the most full determination and strong resolution. He resolved, if it could by any means be possible, that he would attain to the resurrection of the dead. He does not say that he was determined to attain it, if he could, by means that were not very costly or difficult, or by laboring for it a little time, or only now and them, or without any great degree of suffering, or without great loss in his temporal interest. But if by any means he could do it, he would, let the means be easy or difficult. Let it be a short labor and trial, or a long one; let the cross be light or heavy; it was all one to his resolution. Let the requisite means be what they would, if it were possible, he would obtain it. He did not hesitate at worldly losses, for he tells us that he readily suffered the loss of all things, that he might win Christ, and be found in him, and in his righteousness.” (Sermon, “The Character of Paul an Example to Christians”)

General “Stonewall” Jackson: God Has Fixed The Time

stonewalljackson“Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me.” He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: “That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave”

Do You Have A Problem? Blame It On Global Warming!

global-warming-hoaxFOXNews.com recently listed a number of problems the media has reported are occurring or will occur as the result of man-made global warming. It seems that global warming is being made the scapegoat of many concerns that sound ridiculous.

  • Media mogul Ted Turner said that global warming would turn us into cannibals.
  • Scotland’s Daily Mirror has reported that the Lock Nest Monster (Nessie) may be dead because of global warming.
  • The Associated Press has reported that global warming will cause an increase in the price of beer.
  • According to USAToday.com, giant pythons – big enough to eat alligators and people in a single mouthful – will be living in one-third of continental U.S. as a result of global warming.
  • The Globe and Mail reported that there will be an increase in people with kidney stones over the next 30 years because of global warming.
  • The Guardian reported that whales are significantly skinnier because of global warming.
  • The Guardian reported that an increase in fatal shark attacks was the result of global warming.
  • CNSNews.com reported that the 1993 crash of a U.S. military helicopter in Mogadishu (“Black Hawk Down”) should be blamed on global warming.
  • National Geographic reported that baby penguins froze to death in July because of global warming.
  • The Daily Mail reported that killer stingrays will invade the beaches of England because of global warming.

Read the entire article here. . . .

Yet, it is interesting to note that all four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released data showing that global temperatures have dropped precipitously. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to wipe out most of the warming recorded over the past 100 years. DailyTech reports that the link to the cooling is reduced solar activity which is the real driver behind climate change. These warming and cooling cycles are caused by the sun’s increase and decrease of solar activity. It is an unstoppable force which is an integral part of the earth’s natural history.

My Times are in Your Hands By Alistair Begg

yearend-clock“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.”

In the opening verses of Psalm 31, it is apparent that the Psalmist is in anguish. As we read on, he seems to find himself in a position of assurance just a few verses later, but then quickly returns to a state of distress.

This cycle of pain and joy is not an unusual experience in our Christian pilgrimage. Most of us are a jumble of emotions and a cross section of experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly wash over us regularly. The key issue is what we do with these experiences: how does being a believer shape the way in which we view these events and our world?

Verse 15 of Psalm 31 reads, “My times are in your hands.” These six words are the affirmation of the person who knows himself to be­­­­ – despite disasters and difficulties – under the care of Almighty God. It is this certainty that will bring equilibrium to us in the span of events that would either inflate our egos or crush our souls. As I have reflected on this verse, I have found nine truths which emerge from the simple statement, “My times are in your hands.”

1) I am not trapped in the grip of blind force.

The blind impersonal force has been referred to simply as “nature” for centuries, just as it is today. You only have to turn on the Weather Channel to hear talk of Mother Nature and her forces…

2) I am not tossed about on the ocean of chance.

In the movie Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’ character reports the successes of his past students and tells his current students to do their best in the moment that they have. . . .

Continue reading “My Times Are In Your Hands. . . .”

Do You Know American History?

ushistoryWhen it comes to American history, government, and economics, Americans are largely ignorant. When over 2,000 people were administered a 33-question test last spring on our American history and our political and economic institutions, 71 percent (college and non-college) failed.

Some of the results according to Pete Winn are:

Less than half of Americans can name all three branches of government.

Only 27 percent of Americans know that the Bill of Rights prohibits the government from establishing an official religion in the U.S.

54 percent do not know that the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, not the president.

Seventy-nine (79) percent of elected officeholders did not know that the Bill of Rights expressly forbids the government establishment of an official religion.

A large number (43 percent) of politicians did not know what the Electoral College does.

Only 32 percent of politicians can actually define what the free-enterprise system is – even though many of them may have campaigned for office pledging to defend it.

One of the reasons why there is such appalling civic ignorance is political correctness and multi-culturalism on college campuses, according to New York Times columnist David Brooks, who spoke after the press conference. . . .

Continue reading. . . .

A Prayer By Robert E. Lee

“Help me to be, to think, to act what is right because it is right; make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me.” (From the Truman Library)

Daniel Webster On The Christian Citizen

danielwebster“[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.

“Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.” (US Senator, Secretary of State)

Anti-Israeli UN Is A Stumbling Block To Democracy And Peace

israel4threichThe current majority of anti-democratic nations and anti-Israeli sentiment makes the UN resolutions opposing Israel’s attack on Hamas both inevitable and self-serving. The UN’s inaction on Iranian nuclear cheating and its inability to stop Muslims from committing genocide in Darfur is clear evidence of hypocrisy. The UN would have us believe that Israel is guilty of committing a Nazi-like holocaust against peaceful Palestinians whose innocent fireworks’ displays have offended the intolerant Israelis.

Don’t you find it interesting that Libya has been given leadership of the UN human rights section? Other dictatorships have also been placed in key positions. The UN has a long record of quickly evacuating the moral high ground in favor of the interests of dictatorships with no regards for human rights. It is little surprise that Islamofascists have managed to get a majority of member nations to condemn Israel’s defense of its borders and citizens.

Corruption, financial scandals, and espionage should have resulted in the exile of the UN from American soil decades ago. The United States currently pays a minimum of 22% of the UN’s total operating budget. The UN Charter describes its primary purpose as “to maintain international peace.” It has consistently and clearly failed in this mission. In fact, in many instances, the UN has facilitated the continuation of wars, genocide, and human rights violations.

A Meditation For The New Year By Charles H. Spurgeon

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

I should not wonder . . . if the mere words of my text should sound like a pleasant song in your ears; but I am thankful that their deeper meaning is even more joyful. The newness which Jesus brings is bright, clear, heavenly, enduring. We are at this moment specially ready for a new year. The most of men have grown weary with the old cry of depression of trade and hard times; we are glad to escape from what has been to many a twelve-months of great trial. The last year had become wheezy, croaking, and decrepit, in its old age; and we lay it asleep with a psalm of judgment and mercy. We hope that this newborn year will not be worse than its predecessor, and we pray that it may be a great deal better. At any rate, it is new, and we are encouraged to couple with it the idea of happiness, as we say one to another, “I wish you a happy New Year.”

“Ring out the old, ring in the new;
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

(Sermon, 1816)

Turning The Economic Crisis Into A Political Crisis

Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Is there any difference between the following two quotes? “A new revolution is possible only in consequence of a new crisis,” and, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before. This is an opportunity.”

The only difference between the two statements is the person quoted. The first quote is from Karl Marx. The second quote is a recent statement by Rahm Emmanuel, the new White House Chief of Staff for President-elect Obama.

Think about it. The economy is tanking. Industries are on the verge of bankruptcy and the stock market is very unstable. Unemployment is also up. Yet, Rahm Emmanuel wants to use the crisis to experiment with doing things that could not be done except for the crisis. Karl Marx saw a crisis as an opportunity for political revolution in which the government seizes control of property and business. Emmanuel’s secular progressive friends see the economic crisis as an opportunity for government to expand its power and control over the economy. The end result is the same.

Governments have historically used a crisis to create a state of fear among the populace in order to deceive them into granting the government more power to save the helpless citizens from a perceived catastrophe. The current man-made global warming myth is a good example of this strategy. When enough environmental laws are passed, the end result will be control of the economy and a drastically reduced standard of living for the average American.

The instability of the stock market is due to the government’s interference in our economy with the bailout. This is the same Congress who helped create the crisis to begin with by forcing lenders to make bad loans to minorities who could not afford them. Investors are uncertain about how the government will interfere next. The best thing that Obama could do for our country right now is to announce to the country that taxes will not be raised on anyone and the bailout has gone as far as it will go and is now over.

Are 401(k)s In Danger From The New Administration?

401kPlans for a second multi-billion-dollar economic stimulus package will have to wait until the new president takes office in January. Congressional Democrats admit that current White House opposition leaves the proposed package dead in the water. Of course, since the last economic stimulus package had no real impact on the economy, there is no reason to believe that this new package will have any effect either. But rather than accepting the futility of a “bail ’em all out” government, spendthrift liberals will simply wait for Barack’s coronation before throwing billions more taxpayer dollars down the rabbit hole.

The plan to redistribute wealth will not stop at the gates of the “rich,” a term that is being redefined downward with each passing week. Private retirement accounts are now in the crosshairs of liberal social engineers such as Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, who proposed that the government confiscate 401(k)s, IRAs and other personal retirement accounts and convert them to so-called Guaranteed Retirement Accounts, which would supposedly earn a fixed three-percent annual rate of return. Ghilarducci admitted, though, that participants would not “earn a real three-percent return in perpetuity.”

Read more. . . .

Devotion To The Lord’s Cause By Charles H. Spurgeon

If we, as a church, do not continue to be as prayerful and as earnest as we have been, the Lord may justly make us like Shiloh, which he deserted, until it became a desolation where not one stone was left upon another. Nay, I venture to say, if we do not progress in earnestness; if you, my hearers, do not become more than ever devoted to the Lord’s cause; if there be not more and more of an earnest missionary spirit stirred up and nurtured among us, we may expect the Lord to turn away from us, and find another people who shall more worthily repay his favors. Who knoweth but ye may have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. Perhaps the Lord intends, by some of you, to save multitudes of souls, to stir up his Churches, and to awaken the slumbering spirit of religion. Will ye prove unworthy? Will ye say, “I pray thee have me excused.” Will ye not rather, in looking back upon the plentiful harvest of souls reaped in this place, consider that you are in debt to God, and therefore give to him the fullest consecration that believers can offer, because of the crowning mercies which we as a Church receive. “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.” (Sermon, “Thanksgiving and Prayer”)

Do You Think To Repent In The Last Hour?

talmage-t-de-wittQuoting T. DeWitt Talmage

“Have you ever seen a man after living a life of sin and idleness worrying to repent in the last hour? I have seen that spectacle. If you had ever seen it you would not try to repeat it. Why, it is most inopportune. There is the physician standing with the medicine, and here is the lawyer standing with the half written will; and the bells of eternity are tolling at the passage of the soul from the body; and all the past is surging upon us, and all the future; and angels are flying through the room, and devils are plotting for the overthrow. The man is a fool who adjourns repentance until the death hour.” (Sermon, “The Question of Questions”)

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