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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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  • Recommended Reading

What Defines A Right?

bill-of-rights-01.jpgFrom: The Desk of columnist Rich Hrebic

“Isn’t the point of the Democrats’ push to reform the health care system based on establishing health care as a right? That’s what the politicians say of course. But in reality the result will be the exact opposite. Part of the problem is that most Americans don’t understand what a right is. A right is not a guarantee that the government (i.e., other people) will provide you something for free. We have the right to engage in religious expression, but that doesn’t mean that the government pays for the construction of the church. We have the right to peacefully assemble, but the government doesn’t promise to supply your transportation. You have the right to keep and bear arms, but don’t expect the government to provide you with a free firearm and bullets. You have the right to free speech, but the government won’t grant you free radio or TV air time. What makes something a right is not whether the government can force somebody else to pay for it. What defines something as a right is whether the government can or cannot prohibit you from doing it.”

Read more. . . .

The Time Of Tempting

Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson

Quoting Thomas Watson:

Satan’s time of tempting is usually after an ordinance; and the reason is, because then he thinks he shall find us most secure. When we have been at solemn duties, we are apt to think all is done, and we grow remiss, and leave off that zeal and strictness as before; just as a soldier, who after a battle leaves off his armor, not once dreaming, of an enemy. Satan watches his time, and when we least suspect, then he throws in a temptation.

A Warning From The Past

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville considered the Constitutional powers possessed by individual American states to be the key to the future success of our nation as a whole. His 1830 assessment of America’s federal system is eloquent and is specifically relevant to our nation’s current state of affairs. The following are his words:

“One cannot imagine to what extent this division of sovereignty serves the well-being of each of the states of which the Union is composed…. As the sovereignty of the Union is hindered and incomplete, the use of that sovereignty is not dangerous for freedom. Neither does it excite those immoderate desires for attention that are so fatal to great republics. As everything does not necessarily converge at a common center, neither does one see vast metropolises, or immense wealth, or great misery, or sudden revolutions there. Political passions, instead of spreading in an instant over the whole area of the country like a sheet of flames, break against the individual interests and passions of each state.”

When The Church Has Been Trained To Laugh

Eduard_von_Grützner_FalstaffFrom the pen of Greg Gilbert:

On September 16, John Piper spoke to a large conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He decided to start the message by confessing a list of sins he had struggled with all his life. Here’s the result. Listen to the first five minutes and then read on after the jump:

Turn up your sound and listen here. . . .

Do you see, at root, what had happened at that conference? Over the course of a couple of days, those conferees had been trained to expect humor from the speakers and therefore to react to the speakers with laughter—all the way to the point that they were incapable of seeing that John Piper was being serious in his confession of sin to them. You can quibble with whether the first couple of Piper’s statements were (unintentionally, it seems) kind of funny. I happen to think they were. By the time he gets to about the 3-minute mark, though, there’s nothing funny left, and he’s moved into very serious stuff. Yet the atmosphere of humor and levity at that conference was so thick—the training so complete—that the people were incapable of seeing it. So they laughed at Piper’s confession of his sin.

Apparently the conditioning of that audience to think everything is funny took no more than a couple of days.

How deep do you think that conditioning would be for a church who sat under a funny-man pastor every Sunday for fifteen years?

Read more. . . .

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