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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)

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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.

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