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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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Our Inability To See Us

Quoting Paul David Tripp:

“Sin lives in a costume; that’s why it’s so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that make it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party. Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn’t present itself as evil, which is part of its draw. You’ll never understand sin’s sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers. … We’re all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.” (Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy, p. 32)

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Buying Politically Correct Natural Beef

John Stossel

Quoting John Stossel:

It’s logical to think that grass-fed steers might be better for the environment, but so often what sounds logical is just wrong.

Don’t believe me? Dr. Jude Capper, an assistant professor of dairy sciences at Washington State University, has studied the data. Capper said:

“There’s a perception out there that grass-fed animals are frolicking in the sunshine, kicking their heels up full of joy and pleasure. What we actually found was from the land-use basis, from the energy, from water and, particularly, based on the carbon footprints, grass-fed is far worse than corn-fed.”

How can that be?

“Simply because they have a far lower efficiency, far lower productivity. The animals take 23 months to grow. (Corn-fed cattle need only 15.) That’s eight extra months of feed, of water, land use, obviously, and also an awful lot of waste. If we have a grass-fed animal, compared to a corn-fed animal, that’s like adding almost one car to the road for every single animal. That’s a huge increase in carbon footprints”. . . .

But what about damage to people? Some advocates of grass-fed beef claim that the more naturally raised animals are healthier to eat.

“There is absolutely no scientific evidence based on that. Absolutely none,” she replied. “There is some very slight difference in fatty acids, for example, but they are so minor that they don’t make any significant human health impact.”

Read more. . . .

The Birth Of The God/Man

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by [1] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1)

The Scriptures above tell us that there is no one like Jesus. The Son of God is far beyond everyone else. He is infinitely above any earthly hero in fact or in fiction. If we think that we can, somehow, take Christ out of Christmas – we might as well try to remove the stars from the night sky. John MacArthur, Jr comments on this topic:

It’s always a special joy for me, also, to come to the Christmas season and have the opportunity to focus on the simple and yet profound message of the birth of Christ. You know, it is an irony of rather significant proportions in America that we celebrate the birth of someone we refuse to acknowledge. . . .

Now the truth is nobody wants to stop the celebration, that’s not the idea, not the commercial world anyway, they want the money, not the government, they need the taxes that buying and selling and traveling produces and not the party goers, they want the fun. If we can just have the party without Jesus, everybody will be happy. . . .

Is Jesus someone less important than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King? Is Jesus someone about whom we shouldn’t be making so much fuss, and certainly not so much articulation of the character of His life and what He said and why He came? Is Jesus someone to be pushed into the background? Should we keep the party and get rid of the person whose party it is? Is He insignificant? Should people who want to proclaim Christ and sing His praises be silenced?

Well the Apostle Paul wants to help us to understand who Jesus is. And I want you to look in your Bible to Colossians chapter 1. Among all of the passages of Scripture that we might have looked at to see the reality of the child who was God, none is more grand than this one in the first chapter of Colossians. . . .

Every one of those statements that is made from verse 15 through verse 19 is absolutely exclusive. They are true of Him and nobody else. And the sum of them all is at the end of verse 18 where it says that He is to have the first-place in everything. No one else is the image of the invisible God, no one else can be the first-born of all creation. No one else can be the creator of things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. No one else sits over the thrones and dominions and rulers and authorities. No one else is before all things and held…and holds all things together. No one else is the head of the body, the church, the beginning, the first born. No one else has all the fullness dwelling in Him to the pleasure of the Father. Those are all absolutely exclusive statements. And what they tell us is that Jesus Christ is utterly unique. (“The Child Who Was God”)

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