• 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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Nothing but the Gospel!

J. C. Ryle:

1. Substitute anything for Christ, and the Gospel is totally spoiled!

2. Add anything to Christ, and the Gospel ceases to be a pure Gospel!

3. Put anything between a person and Christ, and that person will neglect Christ for that very thing!

4. Spoil the proportions of Christ’s Gospel, and you spoil its effectiveness!

5. Evangelical religion must be the Gospel, the whole Gospel and nothing but the Gospel! (Tract: Evangelical Religion)

No Gumption?

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV)

In the dictionary, “Gumption” may be defined as backbone, fortitude, or determination. You might describe it as the willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. It seems that when I was growing up in the rural South, I heard the word “gumption” used much more frequently than it is today. Sometimes I still hear it used in old westerns.

I like this word “gumption”. Perhaps my attachment to it has something to do with its sound when you say it or because it reminds me of Gary Cooper in High Noon. Certainly our lives are more productive when we have “gumption”.

In Deuteronomy 31, we find Moses giving his final instructions to the people of Israel and transferring his authority to Joshua. Moses knows how spineless and irresolute the Israelites have been over the last 40 years. So he is trying to stir up some gumption in them by telling them to “Be strong and courageous.” He encourages them by promising that the Lord their God will go with them into Canaan.

Do you have a Canaan in your life? Your Canaan may represent troubles or opportunities or both. Do you have the gumption to handle it? Can you see God’s hand in it? It is much easier to be courageous when you know that God is with you. Do you know God’s calling upon your life? I do not believe God calls you to do anything apart from Him and His provision.

You should stop relying on what your personality profile test says about your strengths and weaknesses. God is not bound by it. Gumption rises from acts of obedience. God strengthens you with every step of obedience to His commands. Strength and courage are anchored by the Word of God.

Yet, how can you be strengthened by the Word of God when you are ignorant of its contents? How can you be courageous when you face the challenges of life and have not honored God by honoring His Word? You must dig deep and meditate on God’s  Word. You must have His Word stored up within you and obey it. Do not think that God will wink at hypocrisy. True gumption comes from the integrity of obedience to God. Live the Word and you will be able to face the challenge. Remember the words of Paul – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

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