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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 All-Sufficient Remedy!

Charles H. Spurgeon

Even one who was the chief of sinners should find comfort in following words of Charles H. Spurgeon:

There is no case which the blood of Christ cannot meet. There is no sin which it cannot wash away. There is no ‘multiplicity of sin’ which it cannot cleanse, no aggravation of guilt which it cannot remove.

You may be double-dyed like scarlet, you may have lain in the lye of your sins for seventy years, but the blood of Christ can take out the stain.

You may have blasphemed him almost as many times as you have breathed, you may have rejected him as often as you have heard his name, you may have denied his existence, you may have doubted his Godhead, you may have persecuted his servants, you may have trampled on his blood–but all this the blood can wash away.

You may have committed whoredoms without number, no, murder itself may have defiled your hands– but this fountain filled with blood can wash all these stains away. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from ‘all’ sin.

There is no sort of a man; there is no monstrosity of mankind, no demon in human shape that this blood cannot wash. Hell may have sought to make a paragon of iniquity, it may have striven to put sin, and sin, and sin together, until it has made a monster in the shape of man, -a monster abhorred of mankind, but the blood of Christ can transform that monster!

Magdalene’s seven devils it can cast out, the madness of the demoniac it can ease, the deep-seated leprosy it can cure, the wound of the maimed, yes, the lost limb it can restore.

There is no spiritual disease which the great Physician cannot heal. This is the great medicine for all diseases. No case can exceed its virtue, be it ever so black or vile. All-sufficient, all-sufficient blood!

John Newton On The Miserable Sinner

John Newton

Quoting John Newton:

“No man ever did, or ever will feel himself to be a lost, miserable and hateful sinner, unless he be powerfully and supernaturally convinced by the Spirit of God.”

George Washington On American Citizenship

The earliest authenticated portrait of George ...

George Washington

Quoting George Washington:

Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. (George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. – 1796 – Farewell Address)

The Anointing Of The Holy Spirit

Joseph Charles Philpot

Joseph Charles Philpot (1802 – 1869) was known as “The Seceder”. He resigned from the Church of England in 1835 and became a Strict & Particular Baptist. While with the Church of England he was a Fellow of Worchester College, Oxford. After becoming a Strict and Particular Baptist he became the Editor of the Gospel Standard magazine and served in that capacity for twenty years. The following excerpt is from one of his writings:

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One.” (1 John 2:20)

Wherever the anointing of the Holy One touches a man’s heart it spreads itself, widening and extending its operations. It thus communicates divine gifts and graces wherever it comes. It bestows and draws out faith, gives repentance and godly sorrow, causes secret self-loathing, and separation from the world, draws the affections upwards, makes sin hated, and Jesus and His salvation loved.

Wherever the anointing of the Holy Spirit touches a man’s heart it diffuses itself through his whole soul, and makes him wholly a new creature. It gives new motives, communicates new feelings, enlarges and melts the heart, and spiritualizes and draws the affections upwards.

Without this sacred anointing all our religion is a bubble, all our profession a lie, and all our hopes will end in despair. O what a mercy to have one drop of this heavenly anointing! To enjoy one heavenly feeling! To taste the least measure of Christ’s love shed abroad in the heart! What an unspeakable mercy to have one touch, one glimpse, one glance, one communication out of the fullness of Him who fills all in all!

By this anointing from the Holy One, the children of God are supported under afflictions, perplexities, and sorrows. By this anointing from the Holy One, they see the hand of God in every chastisement, in every providence, in every trial, in every grief, and in every burden.

By this anointing from the Holy One they can bear chastisement with meekness; and put their mouth in the dust, humbling themselves under the mighty hand of God. Every good word, every good work, every gracious thought, every holy desire, every spiritual feeling do we owe to this one thing: the anointing of the Holy One. (“The Unction of the Holy One”)

The Efficacy Of Christ’s Blood

Charles H. Spurgeon

Is the cross and the blood that was spilt upon it enough to give me hope that I might someday enter the gates of heaven? Charles H. Spurgeon writes on this topic:

Standing at the foot of the cross, we see his hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is precious because of its “redeeming and atoning efficacy”. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, and made one with Him.

Christ’s blood is also precious in its “cleansing power”. It “cleanses from all sin.”

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains!

O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand accepted in the Beloved, notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God!

The blood of Christ is likewise precious in its “preserving power”. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same.

The blood of Christ is precious also in its “sanctifying influence”. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God.

There is no motive for holiness so great as that which streams from the veins of Jesus! And precious, unspeakably precious, is this blood, because “it has an overcoming power”. It is written, “They overcame through the blood of the Lamb.” How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat.

The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death, and heaven’s gates are opened! The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!

Lie Down By Faith

Quoting Anne Dutton:

Oh, what heart can conceive, or tongue express, a thousandth part of that joy and glory which He has reserved for His people in the world to come, when He will bid them enter into His own joy, and He Himself will be their everlasting light and their glory! Oh, then we shall have the light of life, of glory-life, in such manner and measure as far surpasses all our present thought!

Come, lie down by faith, in the bosom of His eternal Love! It is a sweet, soft bed, that will delight and refresh you exceedingly! Here is a basin of heavenly wine, or rather a sea of boundless bliss! Drink your fill, bathe your soul in pleasures—and shout the glories, the fullness, the praises of the strong Jehovah amid all your felt emptiness, weakness, and imperfections! So shall you be exceeding joyful and fruitful, and your obedience highly pleasing to your God and Father, in the Son of His love. (Anne Dutton’s “Letters on Spiritual Subjects”)

James Madison On The Spirit Of America

James Madison

Quoting James Madison:

Is it not the glory of the people of America, that whilst they have paid a decent regard to the opinions of former times and other nations, they have not suffered a blind veneration for antiquity, for custom, or for names, to overrule the suggestions of their own good sense, the knowledge of their own situation, and the lessons of their own experience? To this manly spirit, posterity will be indebted for the possession, and the world for the example of the numerous innovations displayed on the American theatre, in favor of private rights and public happiness. (Madison, Federalist No. 14)

All Need The Daily Care Of Christ

Is there such a person as the “perfect Christian”? Is it even possible to attain to such a state? Do failures in the Christian’s life always mark a man who is truly unsaved no matter his confession? Read the following excerpt from an article by J. C. Ryle and consider his thoughts on the subject:

“All of you will desert Me,” Jesus told them. (Mark 14:27)

We see in this verse, how well our Lord foreknew the weakness and infirmity of His disciples. He tells them plainly what they were going to do. “All of you shall desert Me.”

Let us take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off His believing people because of failures and imperfections. He knows what they are.

He takes them, as the husband takes the wife, with all their blemishes and defects, and, once joined to Him by faith, will never leave them. He is a merciful and compassionate High priest. It is His glory to pass over the transgressions of His people, and to cover their many sins.

He knew what they were before conversion: wicked, guilty, and defiled; yet He loved them. He knows what they will be after conversion: weak, erring, and frail; yet He loves them. He has undertaken to save them, notwithstanding all their shortcomings. And what He has undertaken He will perform.

Let us learn to pass a charitable judgment on the conduct of professing believers. Let us not set them down in a low place, and say they have no grace, because we see in them much weakness and corruption. Let us remember that our Master in heaven bears with their infirmities, and let us try to bear with them too.

We ourselves are all, more or less, weak, and all daily need the skillful treatment of the heavenly Physician. There will be no ‘complete cures’ until the resurrection day. (J. C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Mark” 1857)

The Deceptive Minister

How many men have taken their place in Christian ministry so that they may stand forth with their opinions of life and philosophy? They treat the Scriptures with disdain by substituting popular ideas for Truth. David Porter comments on this condition:

Ministers of the gospel hold a place of immense responsibility to God and the souls of men. If they suppress the truth as it is in Jesus, for fear of offending their hearers; if they substitute laxness of principle, for the doctrines of the cross; dry external morality for practical godliness–they do it at an awful peril. They are not placed on Jerusalem’s wall to amuse the multitude with a mock religion in human attire. They are not sent forth to fabricate new theories, or gloss the truth, to render it less offensive to the carnal heart. For no such end was the Christian ministry instituted. The gospel heralds are not at liberty thus to aspire. They are ambassadors from God to deliver His message in its true spirit and genuine simplicity. If they depart from this, through cowardice or thirst for popular applause, they are no longer ambassadors of Christ–but traitors to His cause. And can there be a higher crime committed against the Supreme Majesty, than coming out under a cloak of friendship for Christ–and then aiming destruction at His throne? Verily God will not hold them guiltless. Such treachery will not escape with impunity!

And with what face will the unfaithful preacher meet his hearers at the judgment bar? He had taught his hearers–but had taught them to disbelieve. He had confirmed them in their guilt–by refusing to expose it. He had blinded their eyes about God–by keeping His character out of sight. He had feasted their pride–when they needed humbling. He had pleased their fancies–at the expense of their souls. He had inflated them with expectations of heaven–when on the brink of destruction; and closed their eyes, giving them God-speed with a lie in their right hand! And how is he to settle this account on the day of final reckoning! How is he to clear himself from the blood of souls!

With what will he frame his plea in self-defense, against his flock thus accusing and upbraiding him? “We were your flock–and you were our shepherd. With you were the treasures of knowledge and truth. And why did you withhold from us the message you were sent to deliver? We are undone forever through your unfaithfulness. You never taught us the character of our Judge–or the truth of his Word. The doctrines you taught us to despise–we find to be the truth of God. You allowed us to sport with His sovereignty and decrees, and in this, you did awfully deceive us. You reproved us politely for disgraceful crimes, but never described to us the sin of our nature. When we were sometimes alarmed at our state and prospects, you hushed our fears by crying, ‘peace, peace’, whereas God had said; there is no peace to the wicked!” How overwhelmed with guilt and horror, will such preachers be with their deceived hearers–on the great day of account! (“The Nature and Power of Truth”)

A Thought On Spiritual Leadership

Quoting Samuel Brengle:

Spiritual leadership is not won by promotion, but by prayers and tears. It is attained by much heart searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold, uncompromising, and uncomplaining embracing of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified.

This is a great price, but it must be unflinchingly paid by him who would be a real spiritual leader of men, a leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth and in hell.

A Noble Inheritance

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

Quoting Joseph Story:

Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence. (Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 718)

What If Satan Called A Meeting?

It is said that Satan called a worldwide convention; and in his opening address to all his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the real Christians from going to church services. We can’t keep them from reading their bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from holding godly values. But we can keep them from forming an intimate, abiding fellowship with Christ. This is most critical for our cause, for if they have intimate, abiding fellowship with Christ, then we can have no power over them, and no chance of gaining strongholds in their lives. Therefore, my evil comrades, this is what I want you to do: Distract them!”

“But how shall we do this?” shouted one of his demons.

“Keep them busy in non-essentials of life! Invent unnumbered schemes to occupy their minds. Tempt them to spend, spend, spend and to borrow, borrow, borrow! Convince them to work 6 and 7 days a week with both husbands and wives working 10-12 hours per day, so they can afford their lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. Let televisions, VCR’s, CD’s, video games, and movies baby-sit their children. By these tactics alone, we will fragment their families.”

“Over stimulate their minds with high energy sounds and entertainment so that they cannot hear the still small voice of our dread enemy, the Holy Spirit. Entice them to listen to music and to watch programs, even many of the religious ones, which will jam their minds with our agenda and our philosophies. Flood their schedules with every kind of sports activity you can imagine. They are especially gullible to these kinds of tactics, since there is ‘nothing wrong with them’! Fill them with dread by pounding their minds with news and weather reports 24 hours a day. Flood their mail and email boxes with “stuff”; and have them pass trivia to and fro to one another. Fill their minds with incredible amounts of sports trivia. You see, my dark friends, we shall jam their minds and keep them from communion with Christ!”

“In their recreation, entice them to be excessive. Fill church calendars with sports and recreation. Exhaust them, so that they will be too tired for serious bible study and prayer. Exhaust them so that they will have no time for Christian hospitality. Exhaust them so that they will have no heart for ministry to the lost. O evil one, our plan will cause them to forget that the lost are lost! Keep them going to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies; keep them consumed with the cares of this life! And when they do meet, instead of spiritual fellowship, have them involved in gossip and small talk and card games.”

“And don’t forget to crowd their lives with causes and events that are ‘good and acceptable’. Again, our strategy is to so exhaust them that they have no time to feed their souls, or to cultivate love for our dread enemy, Christ. Thus, they will have no spiritual power over temptations, over habits, over wrong attitudes and so much more. They will have less and less discernment as to what is true and what is false, as to what is good, and what is evil. They will not even suspect us!”

Well, as you can tell, it was quite a convention! And the demons went eagerly to their assignments.

Can we judge the success of their convention? Yes! Just give an honest answer to this one question– Do you know any busy, busy, busy, exhausted Christians who are running to and fro, who have knowledge about many things, but have precious little time to sit at Jesus’ feet, and who are fast loosing their grip on peace and holiness and love and purity and forgiveness, and who have less and less time and heart for eternal things, or for the souls of others (even their own children!) because their minds and hearts are jammed with the things of this world? (The article above has been previously edited as it has been shared with others. I could not find the original source or author.)

The Importance Of The Bible To The Christian

If you are a Christian, perhaps at one time or another you have received a secret impression which you thought might be coming from God. How do we determine if this secret inclination has really come from God? Dr. John Kennedy does an excellent job of explaining this dilemma to us:

It is well to mark the difference between the knowledge derived from the direct teaching of the Bible, and that which is only indirectly obtained by means of it. It would be a great mistake to attribute equal certainty to the information received in each of these ways. In the former case, the intelligence comes to me directly, and lies before me plainly written in the Word of God. And is it not well that it is the knowledge which is life eternal that is thus obtained? In order to believe to the saving of the soul, I must know Him in whom salvation is to be found, the terms on which His salvation is bestowed, and the warrant given me by God for casting my lost soul into the hands of His anointed. And all this is clearly and directly revealed. In times of doubting, the Christian can repair to the Bible, and find, plainly written there, what he requires to know regarding the object and warrant of his faith.

But his own personal interest in Christ is not matter of direct revelation. In acquiring information regarding this, much depends upon the mode of God’s dealing with his soul. The fruit of God’s secret work, as well as the matter of His open revelation, must be taken into account in seeking information of his being a child of God. He is sometimes so assured of this as to be free from all doubting regarding it; but never is his hope of this so fixed and unvarying as his persuasion of God’s goodwill to him as a sinner.

More uncertain is his knowledge of God’s mind regarding the cases which he brings to the mercy-seat. All depends here on the special application of the truth being verily by God. What is plainly written in the Bible I know to be of God. But I have not the same ground for saying that the suggestion to my mind, and the application to my case, of what is written, is of God; and on these depend the goodness of the information, which, in this instance, I think I possess regarding the mind of the Lord. Verily the Lord can give an assurance of this. He can so impress a soul with His authority. He may so disclose the treasures of His grace, and may so help one to appropriate what the word conveys to him, that there is no room left for doubting. But the man cannot fall back on this again, when misgivings arise, as he can on the direct teaching of Scripture regarding the way of salvation. So much depends, in the former case, on his own discernment, on his spirituality of mind, on his nearness to God, and on his sensitiveness to God’s dealings with his soul, that he feels a vast difference between the hope of everlasting salvation, founded on the call of the Gospel, and hope of a particular result in this life, founded on a word of promise, which seemed to have come from the Lord. (“The Secret of the Lord”)

A Remarkable Prayer Of Two Words

Charles H. Spurgeon

When praying, you do not have to dress up your speech or use a lot of words to make sure you are understood; but you do need to know Who you are praying to. Charles H. Spurgeon gives us an example:

“Help Lord!” –Psalm 12:1

The prayer itself is remarkable, for it is short, but seasonable, pointed, and suggestive. David mourned the fewness of faithful men, and therefore lifted up his heart in supplication — when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator.

There is much of directness, clearness of perception, and distinctness of utterance in this petition of two words — much more, indeed, than in the long rambling outpourings of certain professors. The Psalmist runs straight forward to his God, with a well-considered prayer– he knows what he is seeking, and where to seek it.

Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner.

The occasions for the use of this prayer are frequent–In providential afflictions how suitable it is for tried believers who find all helpers failing them. Students, in doctrinal difficulties, may often obtain aid by lifting up this cry of “Help, Lord,” to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher. Spiritual warriors in inward conflicts may send to the throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Workers in heavenly labor may thus obtain grace in time of need.

Seeking sinners, in doubts and alarms, may offer up the same weighty supplication. In fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the turn of needy souls. “Help, Lord” will suit us living and dying, suffering or laboring, rejoicing or sorrowing. In Him our help is found, let us not be slack to cry to Him.

The answer to the prayer is certain, if it be sincerely offered through Jesus. The Lord’s character assures us that He will not leave His people; His relationship as Father and Husband guarantee us His aid; His gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing; and His sure promise stands–“Fear not, I will help you.”

Today, let us ask that the Scripture we have read, and our devotional exercises, may not be an empty formality, but a channel of grace to our souls.

Facing Trials

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“and the iron did float” (2 Kings 6:7)

Yes, and God can still make iron float — things impossible to us are possible to Him. Out of every difficulty Omnipotence can bring us, only let us in childlike confidence cast our burden upon the Lord. Whatever our trial may be, the Lord will help us through it!

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