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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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Spending The Public Trust

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

“These United States are confronted with an economic affliction of great proportions. … It distorts our economic decisions, penalizes thrift, and crushes the struggling young and the fixed-income elderly alike. It threatens to shatter the lives of millions of our people. Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity. But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children’s future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals. You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?”

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Let Us Celebrate Reformation Day

 

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...

Martin Luther

 

Today, we celebrate Reformation Day. The Reformation was a time when God allowed light to shine in the darkness. God allowed his grace to come again into glorious sight, so that one could truly know how to be at peace with the living God. God, in His goodness, during the Reformation reestablished the gospel, the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, that had previously been set aside for the good works of man.

On October 31, 1517, a young monk in Wittenberg, Germany posted 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in his home town. His intention was to begin a discussion with other teachers in the Catholic Church. Martin Luther was used by God to begin a reformation of the church by returning to the foundation of Scripture alone. Scripture alone taught that salvation was not earned or sold by indulgences and grace was God’s alone to give.

The study of Scripture alone, and asking what Scripture taught concerning man’s salvation, was the realization of experiencing true salvation. The teachings of the Reformation were established upon, and found in Scripture alone.  These doctrines were Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, Christ alone, and all to the glory of God alone. Salvation could be found by going only to Christ, not by going through the motions of external obedience. This righteousness of Christ was received by faith alone. Christ’s righteousness, not ours allows us to stand before a Holy and Just God. Christ alone is our sanctification and it is He who has paid the ransom price to purchase us from the consequences of sin and make us children of God.

Today is a great day to share the light of the Reformation with someone else.  Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone. Surely, this is worth celebrating.

A Revolutionary Season In American Politics

 

Image of Lew Rockwell

Lew Rockwell

 

American politics has an educational value all its own if there is anything positive to be said about it at all. Elections encourage people to focus their minds and therefore, become more knowledgeable of what the politicians are actually doing in Washington. Perhaps, this time, Americans have learned that they cannot just wait till every election year rolls around to become involved in how we are being governed.  Lew Rockwell, who is president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor of LewRockwell.com, and the author of Speaking of Liberty, writes that:

It’s another revolutionary season in American politics, with voters preparing to do everything they can within the structure of the law to throw out the bad guys and the bad system they represent. The focus is on this amorphous thing called the Tea Party, which embodies a huge range of political impulses from libertarian to authoritarian, united under the common belief that everything is going wrong in Washington, with a common goal of upending the status quo. . . .

The health-care bill is also a source of American public anger. People are not deceived into believing that whatever reforms we are getting are going to fix the problems of the current system; they will make them worse. As it is, the freedom remaining in the system is the only reason that the system serves us at all. Take that away, and you take away a lifeline.

The revolt, then, is in high gear. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. The governed have long been very unhappy about the government, and they periodically wake up and seek to change it. It’s been some 16 years since the last go-round of such revolutionary sentiment. It is arguably stronger today than it was back in 1994.

The good aspects of this have nothing to do with political outcomes, despite what people believe. The political environment focuses the mind on important issues like freedom, economics, culture, power and its uses, and the role of the state. As they debate with their neighbors, follow election coverage, listen to the candidates, and watch the process, people learn and study and, most importantly, think and rethink.

If you begin with a skeptical attitude toward the government, watching and thinking can lead to a radicalization and ultimate embrace of a consistent opposition to government involvement. This is why election season always ends up creating a huge flood of new libertarians who buy books, feel the inspiration to get active (perhaps for the first time), and dedicate themselves to reducing the power of the state in whatever way they can.

Continue reading. . . .

Is Government By An Elite Group Superior To Government For, By, And Of The People?

Tower of Babel

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

“The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom. In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.”

The Beauty Of Our Lord

Charles H. Spurgeon

“As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)

The portion of other men fills their bodies and enriches their children, but the portion of the believer is of another sort. Men of the world have their treasure in this world, but men of the world to come look higher and further.

Our possession is twofold. We have God’s presence here and His like-ness hereafter. Here we behold the face of the Lord in righteousness, for we are justified in Christ Jesus. Oh, the joy of beholding the face of a reconciled God! The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ yields us heaven below, and it will be to us the heaven of heaven above.

But seeing does not end it: we are to be changed into that which we gaze upon. We shall sleep a while and then wake up to find ourselves as mirrors which reflect the beauties of our Lord. Faith sees God with a transforming look. The heart receives the image of Jesus into its own depths, till the character of Jesus is imprinted on the soul. This is satisfaction. To see God and to be like Him-what more can I desire? David’s assured confidence is here by the Holy Ghost made to be the Lord’s promise. I believe it. I expect it. Lord, vouchsafe it. Amen.

Iran’s Role In The Murder Of Americans

Iran is at war with the modern world. Khomeini called us “The Great Satan”. The destruction of America is a core value of the Iranian leadership. History will judge America’s leaders during this undeclared war by a simple formula: Leadership is ultimately judged by whether you win or lose. Everyone hates losers. Michael Ledeen, a noted political analyst and a Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies discusses how Iran has been killing Americans for many years:

[The Iranians] have been killing Americans for 30 years. That’s what the chants of “Death to America!” are all about. From the Hezbollah suicide attacks on the US Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the early 1980s, to the use of Iranian-made roadside bombs and mines in Iraq and Afghanistan by terrorists trained in Iran, to armed assaults against American troops by members of the Quds force, Iran is at war with us.

Every so often a military leader calls attention to this fact, but no publication, and no political leader, makes it a central theme of our national debate. Why? Because if you accept the fact that the Iranian regime is killing Americans almost every day, you are compelled to do something about it. And hardly anyone is willing to do anything effective. The only evil action by the mullahs that interests the West is the nuclear program, even though they have demonstrated very clearly that they don’t need nukes to murder and maim thousands of Americans. . . .

Thousands of Americans have been killed and wounded. Those who plant the mines and bombs–the IEDs and the EFPs–are often trained by Iranians in Iran. And many of the suicide bombers are also trained by Iranians.

Continue reading here. . . .

God’s Sovereignty

Jonathan Edwards

Quoting Jonathan Edwards:

“From my childhood up, my mind had been full of objections to the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, in choosing whom He would to eternal life; and rejecting whom He pleased. . . . But I have often, since that first conviction, had quite another kind of sense of God’s sovereignty than I had then. I have often since had not only a conviction, but a delightful conviction. The doctrine has very often appeared exceedingly bright and sweet. Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God. . . . And wherever the doctrines of God’s sovereignty with regard to salvation of sinners were preached, there with it God sent revival.”

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