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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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Muppet Existentialism In Song?

Reagan On A Balanced Budget

reagan-at-durenberger-rallyQuoting President Ronald Reagan:

“It’s about time we constitutionally mandate the Federal Government to do what every American family must do, and that is balance its budget. That doesn’t mean taking more out of your pocket by raising taxes. … We the people, deserve to know that our jobs, paychecks, homes, and pensions are safe from the taxers and regulators of big government.”

 

The Need For Discernment

wolfIn the words of John Murray:

A shepherd protects his sheep from their enemies. Wolves enter in among the sheep. The wolves which harass the church of God are emissaries of false doctrine and of evil practice. Satan is never out of his diocese and his specialty is to destroy the pure witness and the fellowship of the church of God. Perhaps there is no more ominous feature of members of the church than the lack of discernment; they can listen to what is good and true, and to what is bad and false, without discrimination. If we are to live in a world where the enemy is active and error is rampant, we must be imbued with a good measure of critical faculty, and here the elders in tending the flock must cultivate for themselves, and inculcate in the members of the church, that sensitivity to truth and right, so that they and the people will be able to detect the voice of the enemy.

Jesus said of His sheep, “a stranger will they not follow,

for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5).

But this discernment does not operate in a vacuum, and it does not act mechanically; it acts in the context of intelligent apprehension and understanding of the truth. (Collected Writings of John Murray, v1)

A Thanksgiving Thought

parting of red sea

The Parting of the Red Sea

In the words of Tim Zingale:

As we gather this evening to celebrate the day of Thanksgiving which comes upon us tomorrow, our thoughts turn to the Pilgrims who came to America and celebrated what we have regarded as the first Thanksgiving. But as you heard the first lesson read this evening from Deuteronomy, the first Thanksgiving was really celebrated by the Israelities as they moved into the promised land. God told them as they came into this land flowing with milk and honey, they were to take the first fruits of the ground, place them in a basket and take it to the priest. There they were to relive through the words of that speech which begins, “A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty and populous,” God’s deliverance in their lives. Because God had delivered and blessed them, God asked them to return to Him the first fruits of the ground, to give thanksgiving to Him for this act of deliverance in their lives. For the Israelities, their thanksgiving was seen in the action of God as He delivered them from Egypt and brought them into this land flowing with milk and honey. The Pilgrims gave thanks for the deliverance which came to them during their first year on the North American shore. They were delivered from hunger by a good summer crop, they were delivered from war by peacefully living with the Indians, they were delivered from cold by building strong sturdy homes, we could go on and on. Deliverance brought thanksgiving into their hearts.

Can we think of Thanksgiving as deliverance for us?? Think about that for a moment?? Usually, when we think of this time of Thanksgiving, we list all those things we are thankful that we have or been blessed with. But what about being thankful for all those things we have been delivered from, that we don’t have to experience?

Read more. . . .

Christianity And John Witherspoon

john-witherspoon

John Witherspoon

John Witherspoon was a president of Princeton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a Ratifier of the US Constitution. He held strong views on the importance of the influence of Christianity upon American civil society:

“It is very evident that both the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New are at great pains to give us a view of the glory and dignity of the person of Christ. With what magnificent titles is He adorned! What glorious attributes are ascribed to him!… All these conspire to teach us that He is truly and properly God – God over all, blessed forever!”

“[I]f you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ – if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness – you must forever perish.”

“[H]e is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

Thanksgiving: An American History

20071121-first-thanksgivingFrom the research and writing of David Barton:

The Pilgrims set sail for America on September 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. Upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters; however, unprepared for such a harsh New England winter, nearly half of them died before spring.  Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith. Squanto taught the Pilgrims much about how to live in the New World, and he and Samoset helped forge a long-lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford described Squanto as “a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . and never left [us] till he died.”

That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, reaped a bountiful harvest. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow (later to become the Governor) affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are far from want.” The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends – America’s first Thanksgiving Festival. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days of feasting (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), of play (the young Pilgrim and Wampanoag men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration and its accompanying activities were the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November. . . .

America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789 with the commencement of the federal government. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights was that:

Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:

Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . .

Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any single event not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion.

For more information click here. . . .

Whitefield On Thanksgiving

george-whitefield-picture

George Whitefield

From the pen of George Whitefield:

Numberless marks does man bear in his soul, that he is fallen and estranged from God; but nothing gives a greater proof thereof, than that backwardness, which every one finds within himself, to the duty of praise and thanksgiving.

When God placed the first man in paradise, his soul no doubt was so filled with a sense of the riches of the divine love, that he was continually employing that breath of life, which the Almighty had not long before breathed into him, in blessing and magnifying that all-bountiful, all gracious God, in whom he lived, moved, and had his being.

And the brightest idea we can form of the angelical hierarchy above, and the spirits of just men made perfect, is, that they are continually standing round the throne of God, and cease not day and night, saying, “Worthy art thou, O Lamb that wast slain, to receive power and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Rev. 5:12.

That then, which was man’s perfection when time first began, and will be his employment when death is swallowed up in victory, and time shall be no more, without controversy, is part of our perfection, and ought to be our frequent exercise on earth: and I doubt not but those blessed spirits, who are sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation, often stand astonished when they encamp around us, or find our hearts so rarely enlarged, and our mouths so seldom opened, to show forth the loving- kindness of the Lord, or to speak of all his praise.

Matter for praise and adoration, can never be wanting to creatures redeemed by the blood of the Son of God; and who have such continual scenes of his infinite goodness presented to their view, that were their souls duly affected with a sense of his universal love, they could not but be continually calling on heaven and earth, men and angels, to join with them in praising and blessing that “high and lofty one, who inhabiteth eternity, who maketh his sun to shine on the evil and on the good,” and daily pours down his blessings on the whole race of mankind. (Sermon, May 17, 1738 Psalm 108:30-31 “Then art they glad, because they are at rest, and so he bringeth them unto the haven where they would be. O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men!”)

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