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    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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We are to Grow in Grace

Sinclair B. FergusonSinclair B. Ferguson:

We must never forget – if we are to grow in grace, and therefore grow like Christ – that the One we trust, love, and serve is a crucified Savior. To follow Him means taking up the cross, as well as denying ourselves. It means a crucified life. (Grow in Grace)

Grace is not a ‘thing’. It is not a substance that can be measured or a commodity to be distributed. It is the ‘grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’. In essence, it is Jesus Himself.

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The Tower of Babel

Tower of BabelThen they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:4-9 ESV)

Ziggurats are high brick towers with shrines on the top. Many of these have been found near Babylon. However, one clay tablet in the area has an inscription that speaks of a temple that so offended the Gods that it was destroyed in one night, and the people scattered with Sir Austen Henry Layardtheir speech made strange… Fragments of an Assyrian tablet were discovered at Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard during the middle of the 18th century that closely parallel the Biblical account. The artifacts now reside in the British Museum (registration number K.3657) and reads as follows:

“His heart was evil against the father of all the gods . . . Babylon was brought into subjection, small and great alike. He confounded their speech … their strong palace (tower) all the days they built – to their strong place in the night He completely made an end … In His anger, His word was poured out … to scatter abroad. He set His face, He gave this command, and their counsel was confused. He saw them and the earth. . . of stopping not . . . Bitterly they wept at Babi(l) very much they grieved . . at their misfortune. . . .”

5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF SAMUEL AT GILGAL!

Samuel at GilgalToday is the five year anniversary of Samuel at Gilgal‘s association with WordPress.com. During this time we have published over 5,000 posts. Samuel at Gilgal is viewed in 67 countries around the world, including Vatican City.

The purpose of Samuel at Gilgal is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage Christian discipleship by introducing you to many of the sermons and writings of outstanding preachers and Christian authors. Occasionally, I will contribute my own thoughts on various topics. Like Abraham Kuyper, I desire that “God’s holy ordinances” guide our worldview in the home, in educational institutions, and the governing of our country. I hope you will continue to follow Samuel at Gilgal and invite your friends to do so as well.

Election Must be Taken into Account!

Augustus M. TopladyElection must be taken into account, or else we believe that God saves no one, or that those he saves are randomly selected like a lottery winner without design or purpose. God’s goodness and mercy forbids the first; while His wisdom and providential care excludes the latter. According to Augustus Montague Toplady:

Our modern inverters of Christianity, the Arminians, by endeavoring to found election upon human qualifications, resemble an insane architect who, in attempting to raise an edifice, should make tiles and laths the foundation, and reserve his bricks and stones for the roof. … [I]f sanctification be God’s gift, men’s goodness could not possibly be a motive to their election: unless we can digest this enormous absurdity, viz. that God’s gifts may be conditional and meritorious one of another. Do you imagine that God could foresee any holiness in men which himself did not decree to give them? You cannot suppose it, without believing at the same time that God is not the author of all good; and that there are, or may be, some good and perfect gifts which do not descend from the Father of lights; and that the apostle was widely mistaken when he laid down this axiom, that it is God who, of his own good pleasure, worketh in us both to will and to do.

According to our Church, God’s election leads the van; sanctification forms the centre; and glory brings up the rear:

“Wherefore, they that be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called, according to God’s purpose, by his Spirit working in due season: they, through grace, obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made the sons of God by adoption.” (Article xvii)

Hitherto good works are not so much as mentioned. Why so? Because our reformers were Antinomians, and exploded or despised moral performances? – by no means. Those holy persons were, themselves, living confutations of so vile a suggestion. The tenor of their Augustus Topladylives was as blameless as their doctrine. But they had learned to distinguish ideas, and were too judicious, both as logicians and divines, to represent effects as prior to the causes that produce them. They were not ashamed to betake themselves to the Scriptures for information, and to deliver out the living water of sound doctrine, pure and unmingled, as they had drawn it from the fountains of truth. Hence, election, calling, justification, and adoption, are set forth, not as caused by, but as the real and leading causes of, that moral change which, sooner or later, takes place in the children of God. (“A Caveat against Unsound Doctrines”)

Suffering in the Path of Christian Obedience

Tested by FireJohn Piper:

“Suffering in the path of Christian obedience, with joy – because the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3) – is the clearest display of the worth of God in our lives. Therefore, faith-filled suffering is essential in this world for the most intense, authentic worship. When we are most satisfied with God in suffering, he will be most glorified in us in worship. Our problem is not styles of music. Our problem is styles of life. When we embrace more affliction for the worth of Christ, there will be more fruit in the worship of Christ.” (Tested by Fire)

 

The Bible

Codex VaticanusThe Bible was originally written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.

The oldest almost-complete manuscript of the Bible still existing is the Codex Vaticanus, dating from the first half of the 4th century, now held in the Vatican library.

 

A Christian Prayer

humble-prayerAlmighty God,

I pray today that You would incline my attention to Your Word and not to money or fame or power (Psalm 119:36). Please open my eyes to see wonderful things when I read Your Word (Psalm 119:18).

I also pray Lord that my heart would be united in the fear of God and not fragmented over a dozen concerns (Psalm 86:11) and that You will help me to be satisfied in Your steadfast love (Psalm 90:14).

In Jesus Name I pray,

Amen

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