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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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The Left: It’s All About Power And Control

From the pen of Michael Ledeen:

For most of the past two hundred-plus years there were deep, fundamental differences between European and American leftists. The Europeans were more doctrinaire, the Americans more pragmatic. The Euros insisted on translating Marx into political and social parties and unions, the Americans never had a serious socialist labor movement. And the Euros were suckers for Communism in a way the Americans never were. The Euros fell for “state socialism,” while the American Dream inspired most Americans.

The American Left went half way to statism during the New Deal, which rested on the arrogant conviction that smart people were more reliable than free markets and, ultimately, free people. . . .

Their ideas were rightly rejected: Marxism and its various offspring had failed. Nobody believed in “from each according to his ability (or work), to each according to his needs.” What was left? The desire for power, legitimized by the conviction that the New Class should make the decisions for the rest of us. They realized that, since their ideology was rejected, the best way–perhaps the only way–to win was to demonize their opponents and run as the Party of Virtue. . . .

Just vote for us because we’re superior people. We’ll do it better. It is now all about power and control, not about some new version of “socialism”. . . . It is not so much an ideological campaign as the appropriation of wealth and arbitrary power to fund themselves and consolidate their hegemony.

As Tocqueville forecast, liberty gets tied down by an endless network of regulation, and we become enslaved without ever seeing it happen. That is because we get to vote, and console ourselves with the thought that our rulers serve US. Meanwhile, the Left has legislated (or, when that is impossible, simply ordered) the big State, and staffed it with their own.

Continue reading. . . .

Jonathan Edwards On Grace

Quoting Jonathan Edwards:

“Grace is but Glory begun, and Glory is but Grace perfected.”

The Greatest Man In The World

Quoting columnist Burt Prelutsky:

“Two centuries ago, King George III was told that President George Washington, who had eight years earlier turned down the opportunity to be the king of the United States, was planning to give up the presidency at the conclusion of his second term and return to his farm in Mount Vernon. The astonished monarch, who had lost a war to General Washington, said, ‘If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.’ Washington did, and he was. Does anything more clearly illustrate how far we have fallen in 210 years?”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY!

The Real Destroyer Of Liberty

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, ‘The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.”

Spirit, Worship, And Music

John MacArthur

From the desk of John MacArthur:

Truthfully, music is a gift from God. It’s part of His creation. And what a wonderful gift it is. It is a common grace. That’s an expression that theologians have used for centuries to describe things that are good gift from God given to everybody, common grace is like the rain falling on the just and the unjust. Music is a common grace. It is a gift from God for everyone to enjoy. It is a benefit to mankind. It is a ready means to quite the troubled soul, to settle the anxious heart, to give expression to strong feelings when words are not enough. . . .

It can be high and noble. It can be beautiful and majestic. Music can elevate the soul and emotions that are honorable and pure and lofty and good. Or it can be base and crass, ugly, degrading, catapulting the soul downward into feelings that are dishonorable and impure, and just about anything in between.

But as the world gets worse, as evil men grow worse and worse, the world carries its music with it. . . . Therefore, music in our day is dominated by a more degenerate kind of society than years ago. The degenerate, in fact, seemingly, the more degenerate people are the more impact they have in music. Music has become a settling ground for degenerate people. Not just music, just about all the arts, but certainly music has degenerated in our culture both in its composition and its performance and its personnel. And it seems that in most cases if you want music that is beautiful and noble and lofty and pure and good and intelligent and magnificent, you have to go back in time to a less sensual era, a less blatantly corrupt era. . . .

And I submit to you that nothing that you do is more serious than worship…nothing. Worship is the highest expression of a believer’s life and therefore the music that accompanies your worship should be the highest and the noblest and the loftiest and the best. In all cases with secular music, it reflects the attitude of the society in the time it was produced. But that’s not true with our music. The music of the redeemed expresses the unchanging truth of the Word of God, that transcends culture. We don’t succumb to the ever-increasing corruption of a fallen world displayed in its music. The music of the redeemed is different. It is reflective of the truth of God that never changes and I think it displays the elements that are true of God…order, design, intelligence. The music that is reflective of God is systematic, sequential, poetic, harmonic, rhythmic, possesses resolution. It expresses the unchangeable reality of God and His truth. . . .

Now before we look at the verses that are the text for today, I just would like to comment on some misconceptions…maybe correct them. First of all, there is the misconception that music is worship. For a lot of people, the way we’re going to worship, automatically that means music. But music is not worship. . . . Music is a means to express worship. It’s not the only means, it’s not even the most important means. The most important means to express worship is obedience. And even connected to that obedience is love. But music is a way to express worship. It gives wings to us. It elevates us. It lifts us when words are not enough. And it allows us to borrow somebody else’s words when our own are not as prosaic as our hearts wish they were.

Another misconception is that music produces worship, motivates worship, induces worship. That is to say that worship is an emotional experience and the right kind of music will whip up that emotion. That is true. Music will play on your emotion. Music will stir your emotion. But that is not necessarily worship. Music will give expression to love, it will give expression to adoration, it will give expression to honor, it will give expression to worship, but it doesn’t produce it. What produces it is the truth in the heart and the work of the Spirit of God.

People sometimes ask me about musical preferences and I will just tell you this, I don’t need music that whips up my emotions. I am content with any kind of music that allows me to give expression to the truth that I believe. I want to think about what I’m singing. . . .

Another misconception is that music must appeal to the non-believer, or they’re going to get bored with our worship. That also is a misconception. I want to say this in a gracious way, but the music that you hear among the people of God is not designed for the unbeliever…not designed for the unbeliever. We’re glad you’re here, glad you’re listening, don’t expect you to like it particularly, we would assume that it’s not your favorite kind of music and that you’re probably fairly bored with it and if certainly you’re not bored with the music, by now you’re bored with me. I understand that. The songs of the redeemed belong to the redeemed. I don’t say that in an unkind way, but you’re on the outside looking in. The songs of the redeemed never in Scripture are said to be for any direct evangelistic purpose. There’s an indirect effect, when you see a worshiping group of people who with all their heart love their God and love their Savior and are pouring out their hearts in praise, that has an impact, but it’s the truth of the transformation demonstrated in the worship that has the impact. There’s no mandate for the church to make its music appealing to the sons of Satan. It’s our music.

So, music is not worship. Music does not induce worship. Music is never intended for the satisfaction of non-worshipers. It is the gift of God to believers to give expression to their love and their gratitude to the God of their salvation. That’s why the Bible calls it a new song…a new song. The world, as I said, is filled with music, it’s common grace. But we have a new song. In fact, if you go back to the Psalms, we talked about the Psalms being Israel’s hymn book, the word “new” appears many times in the Psalms. More with the word “song” than any other substantive. As a new people, we have a new song. Our music has dramatically changed from the music of the world. . . .

We sing a new song because we are new creations. Our music is not like the old song. It’s not like the songs that are the common grace songs. It’s the song of joy and praise and thanks for the gift of salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and the promise of eternal life.

Read more. . . .

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