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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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We have an Almost Unlimited Capacity for Self-deception

Healthy Christian GrowthSinclair B. Ferguson:

No one enjoys being cross-examined, or accused of having something wrong in their lives. But as we grow as Christians, we come to the painful recognition that we have an almost unlimited capacity for self-deception. We slowly learn that we need to be stopped in our tracks by God. He uses Scripture to do this… We cannot reach our destination if we are traveling in the wrong direction. (Healthy Christian Growth)

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Feelings are not God

Finally AliveJohn Piper:

“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes – many times – my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens – and it happens every day in some measure – I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.” (Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again?)

To Pray in Faith

William GuthrieThe ability to pray in faith requires grace in you and grace concerning your petition. Faith must be active towards the particular objective of your prayers. William Guthrie writes:

Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24 ESV)

I come, … to speak of those qualifications requisite in acceptable prayer – there being a vast difference between prayer and acceptable prayer – between our uttering words to God and praying by a gift, and praying by the promised Spirit of grace and supplication, in such a way and manner as to be accepted of God in what we pray for. This is the thing that doth so much take up the thoughts of the tender and serious Christian: Am I accepted of God in what I do? The words of the mouth many times run this way; and if ye heard the language of their heart, ye would hear much unto this purpose.

Now, the first requisite qualification of acceptable prayer to God is true and saving faith. And it is so requisite in prayer, that no man or woman can put up a suitable desire without it. And the having of this grace makes anything that they do in this exercise of a sweet smelling savor unto God. Hence, I shall observe, that in order to find acceptance with God in all our addresses unto Him sound, saving, and justifying faith is very requisite and necessary. . . .

[T]he Scripture makes this very clear and plain, in the words of the text: “Whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” As ever ye would be accepted of God, believe, and so, “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.” “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” That is, let faith be acted and exercised in our prayers. “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” So that the way to draw near to God acceptably is by faith.

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