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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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Children Of Divorce By Elizabeth Marquardt

In the U.S., there are approximately one million more children of divorce every year, joining the ranks of at least a quarter of their peers whose parents are already divorced.

The burgeoning numbers born to parents who never marry in the first place – now almost forty percent of births – swell their ranks even further. If these children don’t lose contact completely with a parent they shuttle between two households, often filled with full, step-, or half-siblings, or the children of mom or dad’s girlfriend or boyfriend. They have stepparents and parents’ live-in partners. Their busy working parents might rely on grandparents, sitters, or after-school programs to fill the child-care gaps. It would seem that everywhere they go the children of divorce are surrounded by people, and there are literally millions upon millions in the same situation. And yet their spiritual condition – the memories and struggles they most often recall when they grow up and reflect on it all – can be summed up by one simple word: alone.

Growing up, the children of divorce feel lonely, set apart, adrift, too often misunderstood. In the crazy whirl of modern society and chaotic family lives they soldier along as child-sized old souls, acquainted with losses they are not yet able to articulate, looking to their parents, teachers, and church leaders for solace and answers which these adults are too often unable or unwilling to give.

In a nationally-representative study I conducted with Professor Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin, first reported in my book Between Two Worlds, the grown children of divorce were only half as likely to recall that they went to one or both parents for comfort when they were younger, instead often going to peers – either siblings or friends – or dealing with their troubles alone. They had profound issues with respect and forgiveness of their fathers, and many of them had similar troubles with their mothers as well. They felt less protected by their parents and more responsibility to care for younger siblings. They more often felt like outsiders in their own homes, and only a minority strongly agreed that they felt emotionally safe as children. When they grow up, the children of divorce are more likely to say that they depend on their friends more than their families. Though many of them had passing acquaintance with the church, and most describe themselves as spiritual and believing in God, they are far less likely than their peers from intact families to be religious, to be a member of a faith community, or to be a leader in a faith community. . . .

Continue reading. . . .

God Shall Be God

bbwarfieldQuoting Benjamin B. Warfield:

He who believes in God without reserve, and is determined that God shall be God to him in all intellectual, moral, spiritual, throughout all his individual, social, religious relations-is, by the force of that strictest of all logic which presides over the outworking of principles into thought and life, by the very necessity of the case, a Calvinist.

The Critical Spirit

overcoming-a-critical-spirit1Quoting Dr. Dale A. Robbins:

A “critical spirit,” is an obsessive attitude of criticism and fault-finding, which seeks to tear others down – not the same thing as what is sometimes called “constructive criticism.” The only criticism that is ever constructive is that which is expressed in love to “build up,” not to tear down – it is always expressed face-to-face, never behind their back.

The person with a critical spirit usually dwells on the negative, seeks for flaws rather than good. They’re a complainer, usually always upset, and generally have a problem or a complaint about something. They often have little control over their tongue, their temper, and have tendencies for gossip and slander, which Paul said were sins “worthy of death” (Rom. 1:29-32).

What Causes a Critical Spirit?

1. Negativeness – A bad attitude and a negative view of life. A person may have unconfessed sin in their life (Rom. 2:1), or may harbor unforgiveness or bitterness toward someone who may have offended them (Heb. 12:15).

2. Insecurity – Criticism is often a subconscious means to “elevate one’s own self image.” By putting others down, they are inwardly trying to feel more important or that “they know more.” Jealousy toward the spiritual victories of others is often the cause of criticism and belittling comments. Popular ministers of the Gospel are often the target of such tactics.

3. Immaturity – Believers must always keep their focus upon Christ and His Word, not man, who will often fail (Heb. 12:2). The young or immature believer who has not progressed very far in their own faith, remain overly dependent upon the faith of those within the body of Christ. Unfortunately, when they begin to notice the flaws in their brethren, subconsciously, this becomes a threat to their own sense of victory. Criticism becomes a reaction of disappointment, because their expectations in others have been crushed.

4. An Unrenewed Mind – Put-downs, making-fun-of, criticism, sarcasm are the world’s ways of reacting to the faults of people. However, as Christians we don’t behave this way. Our thinking and attitude should be renewed by the Word of God, which teaches us to bear the infirmities of the weak, to love, and show compassion and encouragement (Rom. 12:2).

5. The Devil – As we may realize, the Devil specializes in influencing obsessive behavior. He may use any or all of the above channels, or other techniques, to influence a complaining or critical attitude to stir up turmoil and strife within the body of Christ (Eph. 6:12). We must be on guard that none of us would be used as a tool of the Devil to bring harassment or discouragement upon our brothers or sisters through continual criticism, as the Bible warns us not to “give place” to the Devil (Eph. 4:27). Remember that Satan is specifically called “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). Are you an accuser of the brethren?

The Bible says that the reason that we are to come together as a church is, not to criticize, but to “exhort” (encourage) one another (Hebrews 10:25). “Cursing the darkness” won’t change anything, but we must light a candle and “expose the light” of God’s Word. By sharing the truth of God’s Word, and encouraging people to live in its truth, people will change. Love and encouragement is a “motivational force.”

Read this entire article. . . .

Who Divides The Product Of Your Labor?

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

Quoting Thomas Jefferson:

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Confrontation

atomicbombChina Confidential reports:

The world’s worst dictatorship, a nuclear-armed, Hitlerian hell on earth, will soon launch a ballistic missile capable of flying over Japan and reaching Hawaii and Alaska.

North Korea’s missile test is illegal, a violation of a 2006 United Nations Security Council resolution that followed the rogue nation’s detonation of a nuclear device.

The launch is also intentionally provocative. Pyongyang is testing more than a Taepodong-2. The mass murderers in military uniforms and business (and leisure) suits are testing the United States and the so-called international community.

Continue reading here. . . .

Is Your Heart Cold?

spurgeonleftFrom: The Desk of Charles Spurgeon

Are you God’s servant or not? If you are, how can your heart be cold? Are you sent by a dying Savior to proclaim his love and win the reward of his wounds, or are you not? If you are, how can you flag? Is the Spirit of God upon you? Has the Lord anointed you to preach glad tidings to the poor? If he has not, do not pretend to it. If he has, go in this thy might, and the Lord shall be thy strength. Yours is not a trade, or a profession. Assuredly if you measure it by the tradesman’s measure it is the poorest business on the face of the earth. Consider it as a profession: who would not prefer any other, so far as golden gains or worldly honors are concerned? But if it be a divine calling, and you a miracle-worker, dwelling in the supernatural, and working not for time but for eternity, then you belong to a nobler guild, and to a higher fraternity than any that spring of earth and deal with time. Look at it aright, and you will own that it is a grand thing to be as poor as your Lord, if, like him, you may make many rich; you will feel that it is a glorious thing to be as unknown and despised as were your Lord’s first followers, because you are making him known, whom to know is life eternal. You will be satisfied to be anything or to be nothing, and the thought of self will not enter your mind, or only cross it to be scouted as a meanness not to be tolerated by a consecrated man. There is the point. Measure your work as it should be measured, and I am not afraid that your earnestness will be diminished. Gaze upon it by the light of the judgment day, and in view of the eternal rewards of faithfulness.

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to my Students, Volume 3, Lecture 8: “Earnestness: It’s Marring and Maintenance.”

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