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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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Why am I Saved?

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Divine grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit. (A Defense of Calvinism)

Content or Discontent?

Black Friday

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

William Barcley writes:

Contentment is one of the most difficult Christian virtues to attain. Almost four hundred years ago, Jeremiah Burroughs referred to the “rare jewel” of Christian contentment. It is safe to say that contentment is no more common in our day than it was in Burroughs’. Yet, it remains one of the most crucial virtues. A contented Christian is the one who best knows God’s sovereignty and rests in it. A contented Christian trusts God, is pure in heart, and is the one most willing to be used of God—however God sees fit.

We live in a world that breeds discontent. We are bombarded with the message that to be happy we need more things, less wrinkles, better vacations, and fewer troubles. But, ultimately, the problem is the sinful human heart. . . .

There are also different worldly ways of thinking about contentment and material goods. The “more is better” mentality teaches us that to be satisfied in life, we need this product or that gadget. There is also a worldly “simple living” mentality that says satisfaction comes by getting rid of stuff and living with less. Yet Paul says he has learned to be content in both plenty and hunger, in abundance and need. While there is some biblical truth to the thinking that we should not pursue earthly goods continually, a simple lifestyle alone does not guarantee a contented heart. . . .

Read the entire article here. . . .

In America, today is Black Friday. On Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), millions of people expressed gratitude to the Creator of the universe for His good gifts to America and to them, personally. How ironic that only one day after, millions of people are rushing out at early morning hours to buy presents for family, friends, and – of course – themselves. People will shove, push, argue and get hurt trying to obtain the items they believe they must have.

It is as if they prayed yesterday, “Lord, we are truly grateful for what you have provided us!” And today they are praying, “But Lord, I need this. I want it. I have got to have it!”

What do you think?

– Samuel

The Proper Place of Thanks in our Lives

Pilgrims giving Thanks

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

Donald Schanzenbach:

The proper place of thanks giving in our lives not only sanctifies us but it condemns the world. The unredeemed are perplexed and angered when they see in us a thankful spirit. We often love the world, and this explains why we are so nervous when we give thanks for our food in public (also, it confuses the waiters who do not know what to do when our heads are bowed). Our thankful attitude is a public testimony to the power of God in our lives. However, unredeemed men have no true heart desire to give thanks. Listening to NPR on Thanksgiving (Turkey Day), my wife told me she heard hours of talk about feasting, but nary a syllable regarding thankfulness. Worldlings have taken the thanks out of Thanksgiving, just as they took Christ out of Christmas. They do not know who to thank. True religion terrifies them.

Paul further wrote, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you” (Colossians. 3:1), and “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1:2), and “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day “ (2 Timothy 1:4). Paul fixes the thankful heart to the practice of prayer. It is impossible to be soulfully thankful but neglectful in prayer. Thanksgiving drives us to the throne of God. It is there we are reminded to pray for the brethren. Our thankfulness redounds to the church which, through Christ, redeems the world. (Don Schanzenbach is the author of two Christian Worldview books, and writes a weekly column on Christian Culture. His articles may be found at http://missiontorestoreamerica.com/blog/)

The Greatest Saint

Pilgrims at Worship

“‘Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’ (Jeremiah 33:11 ESV)

William Law:

“Would you know who is the greatest saint in the world: It is not he who prays most or fasts most, it is not he who gives most alms or is most eminent for temperance, chastity, or justice; but it is he who is always thankful to God, who wills everything that God wills, who receives everything as an instance of God’s goodness and has a heart always ready to praise God for it.”

Praise the Name of God

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-JonesI will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 69:30 ESV)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“We tend to take all the gifts and pleasures and happiness and the joy without saying much to God. We take our health and strength, our food and clothing and our loved ones, all for granted; but the moment anything goes wrong we start grumbling and complaining and we say ‘Why should God do this to me, why should this happen to me?’ How slow we are to thank and swift to grumble.”

Giving Thanks

respectable-sins“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23 ESV)

Jerry Bridges:

Giving thanks to God for both His temporal and spiritual blessings in our lives is not just a nice thing to do – it is the moral will of God. Failure to give Him the thanks due Him is sin. (Respectable Sins)

A Life of Praise and Thanks

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! (1 Chronicles 16:8 ESV)

Richard SibbesRichard Sibbes:

The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks to God; we should neither eat nor sleep, but eat to God and sleep to God and work to God and talk to God, do all to His glory and praise.

Beware of Superficial Religion!

Charles Haddon SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

Beware of superficial religion! I think if I might only say two things before I die, one out of the two would be—beware of surface godliness. Take care of the paint, the tinsel, the varnish, the oil! There must be in us a hungering and a thirsting after righteousness! There must be in us the broken heart and the contrite spirit.

Thinking of Ourselves

thinking capRobert Kellemen:

Sometimes Christians assume that we should never think of ourselves. That is not what Paul teaches in Romans or Philippians. In Romans 12:3, he tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought, but rather with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given each of us. Paul is teaching us to ground our sense of self in our identity in Christ—who we are in and to Christ. Paul does not highlight self-image or self-esteem; he emphasizes our Christ-image and Christ-esteem. (The Gospel for Real Life)

God’s Word

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

I believe that the happiest of Christians and the truest of Christians are those who never dare to doubt God, but who take His Word simply as it stands, and believe it, and ask no questions, just feeling assured that if God has said it, it will be so.

I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. (A Defense of Calvinism)

Under God’s Control

Jerry BridgesJerry Bridges:

No one can act outside of God’s sovereign will or against it. Centuries ago, Augustine said, “Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen: he either permits it to happen, or he brings it about himself.” Philip Hughes said, “Under God, however, all things are without exception fully controlled— despite all appearances to the contrary.” Nothing is too large or small to escape God’s governing hand. The spider building its web in the corner and Napoleon marching his army across Europe are both under God’s control.(Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts)

The Bible is God’s Word

The Sovereignty of GodA.W. Pink:

To recognize that the Bible is God’s Word, and that its precepts are the precepts of the Almighty, will lead us to see what an awful thing it is to despise and ignore them. To receive the Bible as addressed to our own souls, given to us by the Creator Himself, will cause us to cry with the Psalmist, “Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies….Order my steps in Thy Word” (Psalm 119:36, 133). (Sovereignty of God)

 

The World’s Condemnation

Passion of Jesus ChristJohn Piper:

“The world will bring its condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31) No one successfully If they reject us, he accepts us. If they hate us, he loves us. If they imprison us, he sets our spirits free. If they afflict us, he refines us by the fire. If they kill us, he makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ has risen. We are alive in him. And in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous. ‘And the righteous are bold as a lion.’ (Proverbs 28:1)” (Passion of Jesus Christ)

God’s Will Regarding Character

The Practice of GodlinessJerry Bridges:

As we prayerfully expose ourselves to the Scriptures, we begin to understand what God’s will is regarding our conduct and character. And then as the Holy Spirit applies His word to specific areas of our lives, and as we are obedient to His promptings, we begin to develop Bible-based convictions. Our values begin to change so that God’s standard becomes our delight and our desire. (The Practice of Godliness)

 

There is Nothing Comparable to Salvation

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

Nothing so much concerns any one of you as salvation. Your health by all means. Let the physician be fetched if you be sick; care well for diet and exercise, and all sanitary laws. Look wisely to your constitution and its peculiarities; but what matters it, after all, to have possessed a healthy body, if you have a perishing soul? Wealth, yes, if you must have it, though you shall find it an empty thing if you set your heart upon it. Prosperity in this world, earn it if you can do so fairly, but “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” A golden coffin will be a poor compensation for a damned soul. To be cast away from God’s presence, can that misery be assuaged by mountains of treasure? Can the bitterness of the second death be sweetened by the thought that the wretch was once a millionaire, and that his wealth could affect the polities of nations?

No, there is nothing in health or wealth comparable to salvation. Nor can honor and reputation bear a comparison therewith. Truly they are but baubles, and yet for all that they have a strange fascination for the soul of men. Oh, sirs, if every harpstring in the world should resound your glories, and every trumpet should proclaim your fame, what would it matter if a louder voice should say, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”? Salvation! salvation! SALVATION! Nothing on earth can match it, for the merchandise of it is better than silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. The possession of the whole universe would be no equivalent to a lost soul for the awful damage it has sustained and must sustain for ever. Pile up the worlds, and let them fill the balance: ay, bring as many worlds as there are stars, and heap up the scale on the one side; then in this other scale place a single soul endowed with immortality, and it outweighs the whole. Salvation! nothing can be likened unto it. May we feel its unutterable value, and therefore seek it till we possess it in its fullness! (Sermon, “Your Own Salvation”)

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