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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 Curse Of Debt

How often do we hear of fellow Christians who have been emotionally manipulated into “planting seeds” of cash by some smooth talking preacher promising a 100 fold return for their financial investment into what the preacher calls the kingdom of God? The modern church loves to talk about the blessings of God, but very little attention is given to the subject of curses – particularly the curse of debt.

We are told in Proverbs, 7 “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7) Jesus also reminds us that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24) How often do you think of these verses before buying something on credit?

I’ve known Christians who have been convicted by their pastor’s sermons, of the need for personally practicing tithing, who decided to quit making their house payments in order to give the money to the church. They expected God to look at their tithe as a righteous act, when in fact it was stolen from the bank. They honestly believed that God was going to honor their actions with a 100 fold return on their cash.

The result of such silliness is incurring the wrath of “the Curse” upon your finances. Does your pastor teach when he is expounding on Malachi 3:9-10 that debt is a curse? Does he tell you that your debt will be a curse to you even if you tithe? By the way – there is no “storehouse” in the New Testament and tithing is no longer commanded. The New Testament emphasis is simply on giving as the Lord prospers you which means that you may should give much more than a tithe.

The curse of debt is always waiting for you to give in to the temptation to “get” what God has not provided. The commercial world will do its best to try to manipulate you into debt and bondage. We begin to believe that we deserve what we cannot pay for and ignore the clear warnings of God. The Apostle John tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

Debt is simply a form of slavery that will steal your peace and joy in this life. Church congregations are not immune to this curse either. How many churches out there have taken on huge loans to build grand buildings presuming that the Lord will somehow make a way to pay for it all. This too is evidence of folly and a true lack of understanding concerning God’s blessings and curses. In other words, stop borrowing and get out of debt!

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Many Are Addicted To Strange Fire

John Calvin

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:6-8)

In thinking about the verses above we should not forget the grievance Jeremiah had against the Jews. He says, in effect, “Go to distant lands, run to the isles, observe what is done by other people. Each one keeps to his own idols”, adding, “which are yet no gods” (Jer. 2:10-11). Satan had deceived them by calling this worship, and they were so set in their ways that they could not be moved. The same can be said of us nowadays: for we have seen how unbending the members of a variety of strange heresies and cults are. They burn with such mad passion to maintain their blasphemous practices. When the devil beckons us, will we too be enticed away? Modern man is on the lookout to find anything new and strange. Almost any strange doctrine will immediately attract us and lead us astray. John Calvin says of this:

At this point, Paul states that the cause behind all this is that, ‘there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ’. Here, Paul is asserting that anything which we may add to the gospel is nothing but mere smoke. Eventually we will discover that it is the devil who has conceived such nonsense in order to deceive miserable fools who cannot adhere to God’s truth at all. ‘This is nothing other than some people troubling you,’ he says. . . . Paul is saying that the Galatians were wrong to be troubled by those from Jerusalem and Judaea, who told them they must not separate the law from the gospel. ‘No, no,’ he says, ‘there is only one Jesus Christ. There is only one doctrine that will lead us to him, and give us faith, through which we may obtain salvation. If we wish to have and maintain a pure knowledge of the gospel, we must realise that this is where we find perfection; those who go further are simply trouble-makers throwing everything into disarray.’ This text is well worth noting. We learn from it that if our Lord has given us the privilege of being taught in his school, we must no longer have weak faith which can be blown here and there. We must have resolute determination, so that we can say, ‘Here is the faith by which we are going to live and die.’ We meet many who do not openly oppose the teaching of the gospel, and who even suffer us to preach the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, if we were to ask such people what they disagree with in the gospel, [their answer would be] ‘Nothing!’ But then, if they were to see an altar adorned with grotesque statues, sure enough, they would flock to it. . . . And if all this is set before them as error, they still cannot see that it makes any difference. Take good note — such base behaviour reveals that they do not have faith. How? Well, this is how we can know, and even feel, if we ourselves are believers: when we have discernment about the gospel, and conclude that it is the infallible truth of God, and that it cannot lead us astray if we follow it. . . . It is written that we can only obtain justification and salvation through faith, when we embrace Jesus Christ as the one who communicates all blessings. (“On Perverting the Gospel of Christ”)

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