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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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  • Recommended Reading

The Gadsden Flag Should Be The New Symbol Of US Foreign Policy

The bold letters of the Gadsden Flag have become the slogan of America’s 21st century Tea Party movement and a symbol of the unique American spirit. Most resurgent patriots intuitively grasp the essence of American exceptionalism, but not all understand what it means for U.S. foreign policy.

The distinct yellow flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden who led the Sons of Liberty in South Carolina prior to the American Revolution. . . .

The sentiment of the Gadsden Flag can be traced to the founding of the United States, as can its implications for American statecraft. Among these are a strong military, a foreign policy that is unencumbered by international institutions which undermine its political independence, and a diplomacy that reflects America’s political principles.

Continue reading. . . .

Sweeter Than All Pleasure

Quoting Augustine:

How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! … You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You drove them from me and took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure.

Morality Without God?

Quoting columnist Jeff Jacoby:

“It has become an annual tradition: The days grow shorter, the holidays approach, and the American Humanist Association rolls out an ad campaign promoting atheism and disparaging religion. Last year, the organization placed ads reading ‘No god? No problem!’ on billboards and buses in more than a dozen cities. Its theme in 2008 was: ‘Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.’ This year, the association is taking a more combative tone. It is spending $200,000 to ‘directly challenge biblical morality’ in advertisements appearing on network and cable TV, as well as in newspapers, magazines, and on public transit. … Can people be decent and moral without believing in a God who commands us to be good? Sure. There have always been kind and ethical nonbelievers. But how many of them reason their way to kindness and ethics, and how many simply reflect the moral expectations of the society in which they were raised? In our culture, even the most passionate atheist cannot help having been influenced by the Judeo-Christian worldview that shaped Western civilization. ‘We know that you can be good without God,’ [executive director of the American Humanist Association Roy] Speckhardt tells CNN. He can be confident of that only because he lives in a society so steeped in Judeo-Christian values that he takes those values for granted. But a society bereft of that religious heritage is one not even Speckhardt would want to live in. For in a world without God, there is no obvious difference between good and evil.”

Read more. . . .

Christ The Savior Has Come

9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2)

The Gospel offers the good news to every Christian of being delivered from fear because the Deliverer is now present. We are to look to Him, not seeking a feeling or looking for joy, but to remind ourselves of who He is and what He came to do. By this means we discover again and again the wonderful fulfillment of the angel’s announcement. We need not be afraid. In His presence there will break upon our hearts and faces a sense of continuing joy. Ray C. Stedman explains:

Our joy does not come through circumstances. We welcome happy circumstances, and we thank God for them. But if we could see what our lives would be like without Jesus Christ for even one moment, we would never cease to praise God for every single blessing that comes into our lives. It all comes from his loving, gracious hands. . . .

No matter what the trial may be, the promise of this verse is that we have a Savior, a Deliverer, especially designed to handle that problem, a Savior who is with us always. If we remember that, and look to him, he will take us through it. He does not promise to take the problem away, but he says he will take us through it. He will strengthen us to face it and will give us courage and peace and joy in the midst of it. Therefore the promise of the angel was “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

This is what Christmas must mean to us. And all the days of the year that lie ahead are to be met by the fact that we have in our midst and in our hearts, if we have come to know him, a Savior, a Deliverer, a Rescuer, Christ the Lord. All authority has been given unto him, in heaven and on earth. No event and no circumstance can come into our lives that will be more than he can handle, more than he can take us through. It is that knowledge that gives the heart peace and puts joy upon the countenance.

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