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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 Importance Of Time

From the sermons of John Angell James:

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Paul implies that a man can give no greater proof of folly, nor more effectually act the part of a fool, than to waste his time. While on the other hand, a just appreciation and right improvement of time is among the brightest displays of true wisdom.

We must value time correctly, and improve it diligently.

Time is the most precious thing in the world. God distributes time miserly–by the moment–and He never promises us another moment! We are to highly value, and diligently to improve the present moment, by the consideration that for anything we know, it may be our last.

Time, when once gone, never returns. Where is yesterday? A moment once lost, is lost forever!

We should never forget that our time is among the talents for which we must give account at the judgment of God. We must be tried not only for what we have done–but for what we neglected to do. Not only for the hours spent in sin–but for those wasted in idleness. Let us beware of wasting time.

It might stir us up to diligence in the improvement of our time, to think how much of it has been already misspent. What days, and weeks, and months, and years, have already been utterly wasted, or exhausted upon trifles totally unworthy of them. They are gone, and nothing remains of them but the guilt of having wasted them. We cannot call them back if we would. Let us learn to value more highly, and to use more kindly, those days which remain.

How much of our time is already gone–and how little may be yet to come? The sands of our hour-glass may be almost out! Death may be at the door!

When you begin a day, you don’t know that you shall end it! When you lie down, you don’t know that you shall rise up! When you leave your house, you don’t know that you shall ever return!

For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes! Life is a bubble that rises, and shines, and bursts! We know not in any one period of our existence–but that it may be the last. Surely, surely, we should then improve our time, when we may be holding, for anything we know, the last portion of it in our hands!

You are immortal creatures, and must live forever in torment or in bliss! And certainly you cannot be forming a right estimate of the value of time, nor be rightly employing it, if the soul be forgotten, salvation neglected, and eternity left out of consideration! (“Redeeming Time” 1825)

Only A Step From Tyranny. . . .

John Paul Jones

An article in Canada Free Press by Kelly O’Connell recently caught my attention. O’Connell’s article is titled “What is Liberty, That We May Defend It?” Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. Born on the West Coast and raised in Las Vegas, he matriculated from the University of Oregon. He labored for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland until he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia. While there, he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government.

According to O’Connell, our government is not only misleading us; it is “making foolhardy economic decisions, then treating citizens alarmed at record deficits like madmen.” Our rights are being violated and the Constitution is ignored or treated like a joke. America’s political class is only interested in being re-elected to the “gravy train” by betraying the people who elected them. Is our liberty in danger? O’Connell writes:

America’s greatness is being worn away like a mighty boulder turned to sand by a thousand dripping streams. America was made great by its ideas, fleshed out in the Declaration and Constitution, which created a powerful Republic based on Natural Law and Natural Rights. Yet, we currently stand at the precipice of a socialist devolution, a mere democracy of the misinformed, fearful and conquered.

Areas of American life coming under threat of tyranny are too numerous to detail, but include free speech, religion, separation of powers, government spending, foreign policy, private property, etc. . . .

According to Ellis Sandoz, in A Government of Laws, Political Theory, Religion, and the American Founding, the Founders believed Liberty is premised upon a few irreplaceable things. One is Rule of Law. Another is limited government, established through the Founder’s Constitution, based on Natural Law and Natural Rights. Of course, the strength of America expressed in capitalist Liberty made possible individual prosperity, which fostered our aiding the world, and building ourselves into an impregnable, free land—as the Founders hoped it would. Finally, the Founders believed free people needed to remain virtuous to avoid a proliferation of laws, degrading into tyranny. This virtue was premised upon the Bible’s standards and Christian religion as a foundation for morality.

John Stuart Mill wrote On Liberty, stating the principal: “over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Mill also expressed the Harm Principle—that everyone has a right to do anything they like as long as it harms no one else. Mill encapsulates a standard that even the simple, young or agnostic can understand—that Liberty must be defended, and expanded, while government is shrunk, if we are to remain a free and prosperous people.

Please consider reading the entire article by Kelly O’Connell here. . . .

We Need Real Christians!

Maurice Roberts

Do you know if you really are a Christian? Maurice Roberts explains his method of discernment:

“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

“I will make darkness light before them.” In other words, God is telling us he is going to open blind eyes and shine in blind hearts and give them understanding of the truth. Now we get beautiful stories of this all throughout the Bible. Let’s take two. Take the man born blind in John chapter 9 – born blind, really blind, physically blind in his case, and it wasn’t his fault. Jesus said it’s not something he’s to be blamed for or his parents; it’s for God’s sake, for the glory of God that this man was born blind. And Jesus said to the blind man, “Go to the pool of Siloam [which was in Jerusalem] and wash.” And the man did as he was told. And when you do what God says you will always get a blessing – always. You try it if you’re not sure. When you know it’s your duty to do something and God gives you advice in his Word, always do what God says and you will certainly get a blessing – always. So this blind man set off, went to the pool of Siloam, and here it was. I don’t know how he did it – with a bucket or with his hands – got water, poured it on his face. “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.” Immediately his eyes were opened and he saw everything. And he came back and he said, “Come and see a man; this man must be the Son of God.” Well that’s what happened, you see. When you have your eyes opened then you know that Jesus is the Son of God – that’s what you know immediately. You don’t need to have a PhD in Biblical Studies to know that Jesus is God. As soon as your eyes are open you know him – he’s mine! He’s my Lord! He’s washed my heart; he’s given me new understanding. And people dance for joy – I’ve found Christ!

Or take another example. Take Zacchaeus whom we meet in one of the Gospels. He was a little man, short in stature, couldn’t see over the heads of the crowd, and Jesus was passing by down the street and Zacchaeus couldn’t see him because he was too small. So this man – he was very rich actually – climbed up a tree. Can you believe that – a rich man climbing up a tree to have a look at Jesus Christ? That’s what he did. And up inside the boughs of the tree he saw Jesus was there and, to his amazement, Christ stopped and he looked up. “Zacchaeus,” he says, “come down; I must come to your house today.” He came down quickly, and as he came down he had a new heart given him. He came to know Christ as his Savior. Jesus put forth that wonderful power to save him. And Christ went into his house and this man made a meal for him, no doubt, and this was what Zacchaeus said: “Lord, if ever I’ve taken money from anybody under false pretences, I’ll give it them back fourfold” (four times over). And Jesus said, “salvation has come to this house; he also is a child of Abraham.” You see how Jesus knew that? It was because the man was repenting. He was now being honest. He was a rich man before and I dare say he had used his power as a tax collector to exploit his position and gain money without justification from people. But now, you see, he’s repenting; he’s giving it back. His changed life shows he’s got a new heart.

Now that’s how you know if you’re a Christian. A real Christian is one who wants to do what is right, to do what is honest. That’s the proof of being a Christian, to be sincere and upright. That’s the proof that Christ has changed your life. (Sermon: “God’s Grace to Blind Sinners”)

 

 

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