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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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Are You An Intellectual?

Quoting Thomas Sowell:

Among the many wonders to be expected from an Obama administration, if Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times is to be believed, is ending “the anti-intellectualism that has long been a strain in American life.”

He cited Adlai Stevenson, the suave and debonair governor of Illinois, who twice ran for president against Eisenhower in the 1950s, as an example of an intellectual in politics.

Intellectuals, according to Mr. Kristof, are people who are “interested in ideas and comfortable with complexity,” people who “read the classics.”

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

Adlai Stevenson was certainly regarded as an intellectual by intellectuals in the 1950s. But, half a century later, facts paint a very different picture.

Historian Michael Beschloss, among others, has noted that Stevenson “could go quite happily for months or years without picking up a book.” But Stevenson had the airs of an intellectual — the form, rather than the substance.

What is more telling, form was enough to impress the intellectuals, not only then but even now, years after the facts have been revealed, though apparently not to Mr. Kristof.

That is one of many reasons why intellectuals are not taken as seriously by others as they take themselves.

As for reading the classics, President Harry Truman, whom no one thought of as an intellectual, was a voracious reader of heavyweight stuff like Thucydides and read Cicero in the original Latin. When Chief Justice Carl Vinson quoted in Latin, Truman was able to correct him.

Yet intellectuals tended to think of the unpretentious and plain-spoken Truman as little more than a country bumpkin.

Similarly, no one ever thought of President Calvin Coolidge as an intellectual. Yet Coolidge also read the classics in the White House. He read both Latin and Greek, and read Dante in the original Italian, since he spoke several languages. It was said that the taciturn Coolidge could be silent in five different languages.

The intellectual levels of politicians are just one of the many things that intellectuals have grossly misjudged for years on end.

During the 1930s, some of the leading intellectuals in America condemned our economic system and pointed to the centrally planned Soviet economy as a model– all this at a time when literally millions of people were starving to death in the Soviet Union. . . .

Continue reading. . . .

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A Moment With Charles Spurgeon

The river of God is full of water; but there is not one drop of it that comes from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His own battles but the strength which He himself imparts; and I would not have you that are now distressed to be the least discouraged by it. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled; and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

John Hancock: Encouragement Of Christian Piety And Virtue

John Hancock

John Hancock

“Sensible of the importance of Christian piety and virtue to the order and happiness of a state, I cannot but earnestly commend to you every measure for their support and encouragement.” (Signer of the Declaration of Independence, President of Congress)

Mumbai: Jihad Victims Were Tortured

mumbaiThe doctors examining the victims were obviously traumatized and still unable to put their thoughts into words. When asked if the victims were tortured, one doctor replied:

“It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood.”

Another doctor said:

“Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again.”

Read more at The Jawa Report. . . .

Is This The Spirit Of Christmas?

La Shawn Barber says it well. . . .

“May I be blunt? Anybody who stampedes a store trying to get to sales items is an idiot, a complete and total idiot. If you stampeded or plan to stampede a store today, you’re an idiot, a complete and total idiot.

“Must I really explain why?” (La Shawn Barber’s Corner)

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

“Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:33b-34)

Has The Church Become Desensitized To Sin?

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

As a Christian, how do you keep your mind pure? I find this a very difficult pursuit. We live in a society that has basically abandoned the Christian ethical system. All forms of media and even clothing styles can be very distracting for the Christian who desires to honor God with his thoughts. The frequency of seeing and hearing impure actions and vulgarity tends to dull its offense to the mind and heart. Thus desensitized, sin becomes more acceptable even to the Christian. How can we possibly escape such a force for evil in this day and time?

Yet, Christians are called to be a holy people. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2-4 that the Christian should “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.” We are to avoid this process of desensitization to the evil in the world by renewing our minds; that is, we seek to conform our thinking to God’s way of looking at things.

Paul is telling us that we have a part to play in the sanctification of our minds. We must train our minds to habitually think on that which is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. The things which we treasure are to be different from those the world focuses upon. When we think on those Godly matters which are “worthy of praise,” we become more sensitive to the offense of evil. We become better at discerning God’s will in our actions and the actions of others. When Christians “think about these things,” we are better prepared to practice purity and holiness.

To assist Christian growth in this area of our lives, the church must stop trying to look like, dress like, and talk like the world. We must stop acting as if holiness is the opposite of evangelism. The Holy Spirit is grieved when we live and act like those who have hardened their hearts by clinging to the unholy values of the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit would enable us in the journey of renewing our minds. Our hearts will not find peace until we do.

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