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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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A Message To The Grumbling Christian

grumbleAn eminent and well-known English preacher was approached by a congregation member who complained about some aspect of church life. It may have been that he didn’t feel welcomed, or that he was finding it hard to make friends and fit in; it could have been that he was finding the service dissatisfying or the preaching too long; it could have been that the music was not to his taste or that his family was not being catered for to his satisfaction. The details of the complaint have been lost in the telling and re-telling of the story.

The preacher listened to the complaint, paused, and then replied with five words that cut straight to the heart of not only the man’s problem, but the problem with all grumbling and complaining in church. He simply said, “It’s not about you, stupid!” and walked off.

It was a stunningly rude response-the kind that this preacher seemed uniquely capable of getting away with in his very English way. But doesn’t it exactly express what is wrong with grumbling and complaining in church?

It really is the height of idiocy to think that church is about me and my needs and my family and my satisfaction. It completely overturns the teaching of the Bible-that church is about God and Christ and loving other people. In fact, if we wanted to summarize Paul’s rebuke to the dysfunctional Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 11-14, a pretty reasonable slogan would be “It’s not about you, stupid!”

So the next time you’re feeling grumpy about church, and are complaining that this or that aspect leaves you cold, remind yourself of the five-word answer to grumbling. And if you’re really game, when someone starts grumbling to you about how they don’t like the music or how they’re sick of the preacher’s jokes, just give them a slightly incredulous look, shake your head, and say, “It’s not about you, stupid!”

TH: Tony Payne

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The Holy Spirit Comforts Us

The Spirit comforts us amid all the tribulations of earth, by assuring us that our trials are but light and momentary, by perfecting His strength in our weakness, by bringing to our remembrance the many precious words of the Lord Jesus, by communicating to us the things of God, by lifting our hearts above the world, and by pointing us to a home of rest and glory beyond the skies; where tribulation, and anguish, and death, never come.

Yes, by His divine power thus operating on our minds, He enables us to look far beyond the present; to direct faith’s far reaching eye to our Father’s house, and the fountains of immortal life, flowing through those ‘sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,’ the sight of which makes us long to be there, that we may see Jesus as He is, and taste His goodness on the shores of the promised land. (David Harsha, “The Savior’s Ascension”)

James Kent: “I Rest My Hopes”

James Kent“My children, I wish to talk to you. During my early and middle life I was, perhaps, rather skeptical with regard to some of the truths of Christianity. Not that I did not have the utmost respect for religion and always read my Bible, but the doctrine of the atonement was one I never could understand, and I felt inclined to consider as impossible to be received in the way Divines taught it. I believe I was rather inclined to Unitarianism; but of late years my views have altered. I believe in the doctrines of the prayer books as I understand them, and hope to be saved through the merits of Jesus Christ. . . . My object in telling you this is that if anything happens to me, you might know, and perhaps it would console you to remember, that on this point my mind is clear: I rest my hopes of salvation on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Law Professor, Judge, Considered a “Father of American Jurisprudence”)

Newsweek Story Claims The Bible Supports Homosexual Marriage

The cover story for an upcoming issue of Newsweek magazine says the NEWSWEEK DECEMBER 15 COVERBible supports homosexual marriage. It is a blatant work of propaganda and distortion which uses the strategy of the “big lie” shamelessly. Newsweek senior editor and religion columnist, Lisa Miller, writes the article titled “Our Mutual Joy.” The appeal of Miller’s article is dependent upon the premise that most people are ignorant of the Scriptures and don’t know how to read them.

Chelsea Schilling of WorldNetDaily writes:

The piece calls California’s passage of a ban on same-sex marriage “full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match” and claims the Bible and Jesus never “explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman.” Furthermore, it states, “Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce. . . .”

In a radio interview posted on the Newsweek website, Miller said the dispute between religious conservatives and same-sex marriage advocates lies in how people choose to interpret scripture.

“The split is in how you read the Bible,” she said. “Do you read the Bible as the inerrant, handed-down word of God at a certain time? Or do you look at the Bible as living history inspired, perhaps by God, but changeable, open to interpretation?”

Miller’s conclusions, of course, depend upon the Bible not being inspired by God; that its meaning can change with the times and culture; and that its truth is relevant only to individual interpretation which may be different from one person to another. In other words, whatever the Bible is – it is not authoritative truth.

Miller distorts the meaning and context of the verses of Scripture she uses to support her case while ignoring such verses as:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ESV)

“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” (1 Timothy 1:8-11, ESV)

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth . . . Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:18-27, ESV)

Do not allow this Newsweek article to deceive you. God’s truth is absolute and for all times, places, and people. Call on the Lord to help you read and understand the Bible. Remember that: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV)

Is There Anyone Who Can Explain Christmas?

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:9-14)

6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

(Isaiah 9:6-7)

“I Was Blind, Now I See”

blind1“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

When a person becomes a Christian, he begins to see things differently. He sees clearly for the first time. He realizes for the first time who he truly is and why he is the way he is. He begins to see that sin has cut him off from communion with God and that the whole world is the way it is because of sin.

People are born self-centered. They seek to please themselves and ignore the precepts of God. But God has made a way for men to come to Him through His Son – Jesus Christ. A man can know salvation from his sins and the wrath of God through Jesus Christ. Thus, a man can know himself and understand why others are the way they are. A Christian has a more complete view of life because he believes God’s Word.

But this new perspective on life is not enough; the Christian is determined to know God – not just things about Him. This knowledge gives the Christian a sense of purpose. He has a system of living and a new sense of order. His life is surrendered to a new intellectual and moral way of existence. When calamity strikes, the Christian knows he has a way. He sees the path he must walk. His confidence is not in himself, but in his Savior. His Anchor of Hope is not in this world which is passing – for he sees himself in the light of God and eternity.

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