• OVER 5,000 ARTICLES AND QUOTES PUBLISHED!
  • 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.

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,376,570 Visits
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,285 other followers

  • Recommended Reading

Facing Adversity

There is some good in adversity I suppose. I often hear the statement that “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!” Yet, most sane people I know would rather avoid pain and adversity if possible. There are examples, however, of adversity making people stronger to serve the purposes of God: Take John Bunyan for instance. He was arrested in 1660 for preaching without a license. In prison, he began writing his great book Pilgrim’s Progress. Then there is Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The communists imprisoned him for criticizing them. While suffering in the Gulag (concentration camp), he wrote poems in his head, which he later was able to publish and eventually he wrote the Gulag Archipelago based on his experiences. Consider the story of Joseph in Genesis. First in slavery and then in prison Joseph learned to forgive, to persevere, and perhaps a good dose of humility. These lessons and the hand of God brought Joseph to Pharaoh’s attention and placed him in a position to save his family from starvation.

There are certainly many other examples that could be written about. The Lord, however, provides us with many encouragements in the Scriptures to hold on to as anchors of hope when adversity comes our way. One of my favorites is “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) A few of many helpful Bible verses in times of trial are listed below:

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Isaiah 41:10

[F]ear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 16:33

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Advertisements

The Gospel In Your Heart

Charles H. Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon

The Word will make your heart rich with truth, rich with understanding, and then your conversation, when it flows from your mouth, will be like your heart– rich, soothing, and sweet. Make your heart full of rich, generous love, and then the stream that flows from your hand will be just as rich and generous as your heart.

Above all, get Jesus to live in your heart, and then out of your heart shall flow rivers of living water, more rich, more satisfying than the water of the well of Sychar of which Jacob drank. Oh! go, Christian, to the great mine of riches, and cry to the Holy Spirit to make your heart rich unto salvation. So shall your life and conversations be a boon to your fellow man; and when they see you, your face will be like an angel of God. Wise men will stand up when they see you, and men will give you reverence.

The Preacher Under Fire!

John Wilbur Chapman

Criticism of your life’s work is not often easy to listen to. The Minister of the Gospel is no different in this than any other man. Yet, there are judgments made which we all would do well to pause and consider. The following is an excerpt from a message by J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1917) delivered to preachers at the beginning of the 20th century:

This is a day when the minister is under sharpest fire. By some his motives are questioned, his spirit is censured, and his failure to secure such results as came in days gone by, when the gospel was preached, is used as an argument against him. However, in the midst of such criticism it should not be forgotten that it is, by no means, as easy to preach today as in the olden times. The minister formerly was recognized as a man under authority; his words were generally received as the truth; now the genuineness of his message is sharply questioned, and even his authority is subject to criticism. . . . [O]ne must not only preach his sermon, but he must prove his authority and be ready to substantiate the integrity and genuineness of the Book on the basis of which his message is delivered. But a brighter day will come for the minister, and it is only necessary that he should be watchful in these troublesome times, have the approval of his own conscience in the matter of preaching, and also be sure that he has His approval in whose name he speaks and from whom he has received his call to preach.

As an illustration of the sharpness of the criticism it may be well to note the words spoken by a professor of law, in an Eastern university, in an address before a ministers’ conference:

“The waning power of the pulpit is one of the most lamentable signs of the times. The intellectual pre-eminence of the preacher has passed and gone. The pulpit no longer attracts the brightest minds, and theological seminaries swarm with intellectual weaklings. Pulpit deliverances of our day often lack every element of real oratory; they are largely dreary monologues and complacent soliloquy. The speaker’s wits, instead of being sharpened by adversity and defeat, are blunted by his unvaried weekly duel with an imaginary foe. Our present-day divines are not deficient in the arts of finished elocution, but they have dropped the old theme of salvation from an inherited curse of sin. But when the pulpit has moral earnestness, it rises to the loftiest elevation of eloquent expression. It was homely language of a country deacon speaking to a person who had prayed long and loudly for power…”

This opinion may or may not be correct; the one who gave it evidently thinks it is, and unquestionably he represents a certain element in the Church. Whether true or not, it is the sort of criticism facing the preacher today. It is claimed that we have failed to give sufficient emphasis to the importance of prayer, and we read that this was the secret of true greatness in the pulpit of other days. It is said we have lost our power because we have not given sufficient attention to Bible study; not Bible study in the preparation of sermons, but Bible study in the development of our own spiritual life. Unquestionably the secret of Spurgeon’s power was found just here. During the days of the week we must become saturated with the Scriptures so that on Sunday the message comes flowing forth like the current of a mighty river. Men tell us we have lost this, that we preach about God’s Word, but not the Word itself. (“The Waning Pulpit”)

Are Our Youth Ministries Failing Our Families And The Church?

There are a growing number of people who suggest that today’s youth ministries should be disbanded. They believe the common practice of separating congregations by age for worship and Bible study is “unbiblical.” The National Center for Family Integrated Churches in association with LeClerc Brothers Motion Pictures is now stating their case in the documentary film, “Divided: Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church?” See the following trailer:

The documentary follows a young Christian filmmaker on a quest to find answers to why his generation is increasingly turning away from attending church. Recent surveys have shown that as many as 85 percent of young people will leave the church and many never return. In the film, Dr. Voddie Baucham, Jr. of Grace Family Church is interviewed:

Many feel that dividing children from adults at church is an unbiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies. They believe that the adults should gather with the children for worship, which includes preaching. A Biblical example may be found in Deuteronomy 12 where Moses commands the parents to bring whole families to come and worship and sacrifice. Doug Phillips of Vision Forum is also interviewed:

“Divided” will be an uncomfortable eye-opening experience for many. Most youth ministries seek to “entertain” in order to attract youth to their ministry, so that they may teach them the Gospel. However, instead of “training them in the Gospel” they continue to be “entertained” in order to keep up attendance! The result of this strategy is evident when the children turn into adults. The adults want a preacher who entertains them.

The movie “Divided: Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church?” may be seen for free at the following link until September 15th, 2011. This movie is a call to repentance and faithfulness. I encourage you to watch it and share it with your friends.

Watch “Divided” here for free until September 15th. . . .

Follow Christ And Waiver Not!

As a Christian, it is easy to become discouraged in a culture where the media treats Christ as a myth; portrays Christians as bigots; and preachers as hypocrites (which is sometimes deserved). We are constantly bombarded by new theories of how to interpret the Bible; just like politicians declare that the Constitution does not really say what it actually says. There are those who believe that the great doctrines of Christianity should be more flexible according to time and place. Yet, the Bible teaches us that we are supposed to change the world – not be changed by the world. Charles Spurgeon discusses how to overcome this discouragement:

Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the Lord. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the Lord. Work, for I am with you, declares the Lord of hosts, according to the covenant that I made with you when you came out of Egypt. My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. (Haggai 2:4-5)

Discouragement not only weakens men, but it takes them off from the service of God. It is significant that the prophet said to them, “Be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work.” They had ceased to build: they had begun to talk and argue, but they had laid down the trowel. . . . May the Lord take away discouragement from any of you who now suffer from it! I suppose some of you do feel it, for at times it creeps over my heart and makes me go with heaviness to my work. I believe that God’s truth will come to the front yet, but it hath many adversaries to-day. All sorts of unbeliefs are being hatched out from under the wings of “modern thought.” The gospel seems to be regarded as a nose of wax, to be altered and shaped by every man who wishes to show his superior skill. Nor is it in doctrine alone, but in practice also, that the times are out of joint. . . . To follow Christ fully has gone out of fashion with many of those from whom we once hoped better things. Yet are there some who waver not, some who are willing to be in the right with two or three. For my own part, even should I find none around me of the same mind, I shall not budge an inch from the old truth, nor sweat a hair of fear of its overthrow; but I shall abide confident that the eternal God, whose truth we know and hold, will vindicate Himself ere long, and turn the wisdom of the world into babble, and its boasting into confusion. Blessed is the man who shall be able to stand fast by his God in these evil days. Let us not in any wise be discouraged. “Be strong; be strong; be strong,” sounds as a threefold voice from the Triune God. “Fear not” comes as a sweet cordial to the faint: therefore let no man’s heart fail him.

Charles Spurgeon On The Best Of Books

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

The best books of men are soon exhausted–they are cisterns, and not springing fountains. You enjoy them very much at the first acquaintance, and you think you could hear them a hundred times over- but you could not- you soon find them wearisome. Very speedily a man eats too much honey: even children at length are cloyed with sweets.

All human books grow stale after a time- but with the Word of God the desire to study it increases, while the more you know of it the less you think you know.

The Book grows upon you: as you dive into its depths you have a fuller perception of the infinity which remains to be explored. You are still sighing to enjoy more of that which it is your bliss to taste.

Benjamin Rush On National Crimes That Will Require National Punishment

Quoting Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

Remember that national crimes require national punishments, and without declaring what punishment awaits this evil, you may venture to assure them that it cannot pass with impunity, unless God shall cease to be just or merciful. (Source: Benjamin Rush, An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America Upon Slave-Keeping (Boston: John Boyles, 1773), p. 30.)

%d bloggers like this: