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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 Human Capacity for Evil

From the pen of columnist Cal Thomas:

“By now the script should be familiar. A bombing or a mass shooting occurs and the media immediately look for a simple cause. Invariably, they turn to talk radio or some other conservative pit of ‘intolerance.’… What is always left out of this familiar scenario is an in-depth discussion of evil. Politicians and commentators almost never speak of evil as something that resides deep inside the human heart. All humans possess the capacity for evil. While it rarely rises to the level of mass murder, the capacity for doing great harm to other human beings lurks within each of us. This is what theologians mean when they speak of a ‘fallen’ humanity. Violent movies like ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ do not make all people emulate the Colorado shooter, anymore than a movie about love causes people to love one another. … Sometimes there are no ‘solutions’ that can forestall an evil act. … Calling on [a] Higher Authority is the proper and perhaps the only counter-force to this and other expressions of true evil.”

Read more here. . . .

The Ebla Tablets

Archaeology and the Bible:

The Ebla tablets were discovered in 1970s in Northern Syria. Documents written on clay tablets from around 2300 B.C. prove that personal and place names in the Patriarchal accounts are genuine. In use in the Ebla tablets was the name “Canaan,” a name critics once said was not used at that time and was used incorrectly in the early chapters of the Bible. The tablets refer to all five “cities of the plain” mentioned in Genesis 14, previously assumed to have been mere legends.

“Getting Ready to get Ready”

Do you have problems getting started when you know you have important things to do? People have a variety of excuses for procrastination. One excuse I have heard is, “Well, I’m getting ready to get ready to …” The problem seems to be that people are “getting ready to get ready” forever. People in the church have much the same problem.

Putting things off is one of the devil’s best tools for defeating Christians. However, if you knew you had a terrible form of cancer would you delay pursuing treatment? If your home caught fire, would you delay getting your family to safety? Of course not – yet, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 ESV) On the other hand, your soul is eternal. Should we not constantly be about the preparation of our souls for the kingdom of Heaven?

Many people never try to share Christ with someone or get involved in a church ministry because they don’t believe they know enough about Christianity to be helpful. They leave these things to the elders and ministers of the church. Perhaps they do sincerely wish to learn more –which is good – but how much is enough to enable them to take part in the ministry of the church? Except for teaching and preaching, very little is required for involvement. Even a recent convert can tell the story of why and how he came to repentance. Still, we find many Christians “getting ready to get ready” to be involved.

Other people put off being too active in order not to be perceived as hypocrites. They know there are still problems with sin in their lives and they are pursuing holiness to feel that they are good enough to be a part of the ministry of the church.

A person who desires to pursue holiness is pursuing a good thing which is characteristic of the Christian life. This lifelong pursuit is exactly that – “lifelong”! If we wait until we are perfect, we will never do anything for Christ. Remember the words of Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

How many people do you know who are forever “getting ready to get ready” to visit a church for the first time? They know that something is missing in their lives, yet they fear the opinions of friends and family more than they fear God. The Lord has said, “Oh that they had such a mind as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 ESV)

Stop getting “ready to get ready” and obey the Lord. There is no reason to put off obedience to the Word of God. “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV)

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