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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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SIXTH ANNIVERSARY

Wordpress Anniversary

SAMUEL AT GILGAL IS SIX YEARS OLD TODAY!

Choices

Samuel DaviesQuoting Samuel Davies:

Consider how earnest and active men are in other pursuits. Should we form a judgment of the faculties of human nature by the conduct of the generality in religion, we should be apt to conclude that men are mere snails, and that they have no active powers belonging to them. But view them about other affairs, and you find they are all life, fire, and hurry. What labor and toil! What schemes and contrivances! What solicitude about success! What fears of disappointment! Hands, heads, hearts, all busy. And all this to procure those enjoyments which at best they cannot long retain, and which the next hour may tear from them. To acquire a name or a diadem, to obtain riches or honors, what hardships are undergone! What dangers dared! What rivers of blood shed! How many millions of lives have been lost! And how many more endangered! In short the world is all alive, all in motion with business. On sea and land, at home and abroad, you will find men eagerly pursuing some temporal good. They grow grey-headed, and die in the attempt without reaching their end; but this disappointment does not discourage the survivors and successors; still they will continue, or renew the endeavor. Now here men act like themselves; and they show they are alive, and endowed with powers of great activity. And shall they be thus zealous and laborious in the pursuit of earthly vanities, and quite indifferent and sluggish in the infinitely more important concerns of eternity? Continue reading

The Call

Woman HealedNow he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. (Luke 13:10-13 ESV)

Have you ever suffered from back pain? After one operation and continuing chronic back pain over the years, I can certainly tell you a little about it, but there are many with much more severe problems than my own. Let us take, for example, the woman in the verses above.

The verses above tell us that this woman’s back had been bent over for eighteen years. Imagine the pain and suffering she endured. The verses also indicate that the source of her condition was a demon. Her body was bent double at the waist and, obviously, physicians could not help. In her own strength, she could not overcome her physical condition. Continue reading

God’s Love and Sovereignty

Arthur W. PinkAW Pink:

God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love. Ah! that is a hard saying, who then can receive it? It is written, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven” (John 3:27). When we say that God is Sovereign in the exercise of His love, we mean that He loves whom He chooses. God does not love everybody; if He did, He would love the Devil. Why does not God love the Devil? Because there is nothing in him to love; because there is nothing in him to attract the heart of God. Nor is there anything to attract God’s love in any of the fallen sons of Adam, for all of them are, by nature, “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). If then there is nothing in any member of the human race to attract God’s love, and if, notwithstanding, He does love some, then it necessarily follows that the cause of His love must be found in Himself, which is only another way of saying that the exercise of God’s love towards the fallen sons of men is according to His own good pleasure. (The Sovereignty of God)

Behind the Curtains: Salvation!

7-deadly-sinsAll human beings are born sinners and enemies of God. (Psalms 51:5, Ephesians 2:3) We merit nothing but God’s wrath. Sin is always at work in us bearing fruit for death. (Romans 7:5) Even if we deny our sinfulness, we simply deceive ourselves. (1 John 1:8) We must change in order to be reconciled to God, but it is not in our power to change.

Praise God! – He has chosen to have mercy on many sinners. He has promised to give us a new heart and spirit. (Ezekiel 36:26-27) Even though we were dead in our sins, God chose to love us. (Ephesians 2:4-5) From eternity, God has chosen for Himself a people; (Romans 8:30) a people born by the Will of God – not man. (John 1:13) Continue reading

Half-Truth Christianity

Narrow Gate and WayBy Paul Washer:

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV)

One of the most dangerous things you can ever do is teach half of a truth. And it is something in evangelical Christianity in America that is too often common place. Half a truth is taught. One side of the coin is shown. And that leaves a very, very dangerous blind side to those who are not discerning.

We are taught today that there is only one small gate and that is true. We hear that in almost every denomination. … We hear that in modern day preaching. There is one small gate and his name is Jesus. But if you go through any other gate you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. You will not be saved. There is no hope for you. There is no gate except Christ and all those who miss Christ miss forgiveness, miss right standing with God and enter in to a devil’s hell. That is true. We say that correctly and I applaud those who say this. But that is only half the truth. And because it is only half the truth this text has been used to damn many people to hell. Continue reading

Jesus: Our True Friend and Priest

Bishop J. C. Ryle

Bishop J. C. Ryle:

Does any reader of this tract need a friend? In such a world as this, how many hearts there are which ought to respond to that appeal! How many there are who feel “I stand alone.” How many have found one idol broken after another, one staff failing after another, one fountain dried after another, as they have travelled through the wilderness of this world. If there is one who wants a friend, let that one behold at the right hand of God an unfailing friend, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let that one repose his aching head and weary heart upon the bosom of that unfailing friend, Jesus Christ the Lord. There is one living at God’s right hand of matchless tenderness. There is one who never dies. There is one who never fails, never disappoints, never forsakes, never changes His mind, never breaks off friendship. That One, the Lord Jesus, I commend to all who need a friend. No one in a world like this, a fallen world, a world which we find more and more barren, it may be, every year we live,–no one ever need be friendless while the Lord Jesus Christ lives to intercede at the right hand of God. Continue reading

The Support of Providence

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon:

The boundless stores of Providence are engaged for the support of the believer. Christ is our Joseph, who has granaries full of wheat; but He does not treat us as Joseph did the Egyptians, for He opens the door of His storehouse and bids us call all the good therein our own. He has entailed upon His estate of Providence a perpetual charge of a daily portion for us, and He has promised that one day we shall clearly perceive that the estate itself has been well-farmed on our behalf and has always been ours. The axle of the wheels of the chariot of Providence is Infinite Love, and Gracious Wisdom is the perpetual charioteer.

Unconditional Election

The Five Dilemmas of CalvinismCraig R. Brown:

The doctrine of unconditional election is also known as predestination, a word that sends chills up the spines of those who do not understand it. But those who reject this doctrine must ask themselves what kind of a God they want to believe in: a God who is in control of everything or one who is at the mercy of man and his decisions. (The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism)

God’s Loving Purpose

Jerry BridgesJerry Bridges:

Rather than being offended over the Bible’s assertion of God’s sovereignty in both good and calamity, believers should be comforted by it. Whatever our particular calamity or adversity may be, we may be sure that our Father has a loving purpose in it. As King Hezekiah said, “Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish” (Isaiah 38:17). God does not exercise His sovereignty capriciously but only in such a way as His infinite love deems best for us. (Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts)

God’s Guidance

Discovering God's WillSinclair B. Ferguson:

God’s guidance will require patience on our part. His leading is not usually a direct assurance, a revelation, but His sovereign controlling of the circumstances of our lives, with the Word of God as our rule. It is therefore, inevitable that the unfolding of His purposes will take time – sometimes a very long time. (Discovering God’s Will)

The Unconverted Church Member

“The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one. . . . (Matthew 13:36-43 ESV)

Church AttendersThere are many unconverted members who attend our churches each Sunday. They attend week after week and year after year; never hearing anything offensive to their unregenerated lifestyles. However, the truth of the Bible is distasteful to the sinner. The cross of Christ is impertinent to the proud. If you have listened faithfully to your pastor’s sermons each Sunday and have never felt a sting of rebuke for some sin brought to light, then you have a heart of stone or need to find a new pastor.

Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers. . . . (Matthew 13:37-43 ESV)

Of course, the unconverted do not see themselves as sinners or law-breakers. In the darkness of their minds they see themselves as worthy children of an adoring God. They believe that God loves them because they are not as “bad” as their neighbors. Yet, their lives do not reflect biblical truth. This is because it is impossible for their lives to reproduce a righteousness they do not know or understand. They have set their own standards for what to call sin. Continue reading

Better than All the Gifts

John BunyanQuoting English Preacher and author of The Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan (1628-1688):

“I concluded, a little grace, a little love, a little of the true fear of God, is better than all the gifts: yea, and I am fully convinced of it, that it is possible for souls that can scarce give a man an answer, but with great confusion as to method; I say, it is possible for them to have a thousand times more grace, and so to be more in the love and favor of the Lord, than some who by the virtue of the gift of knowledge, can deliver themselves like angels.” (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners)

The Altar Call and Eleven Choruses of “Just as I Am”

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-JonesQuoting D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

1. It is wrong to put direct pressure on the will. The will should always be approached primarily through the mind, the intellect, and then through the affections. The action of the will should be determined by those influences.

2. In the end it may produce a condition in which what has determined the response of the man who ‘comes forward’ is not so much the Truth itself as, perhaps, the personality of the evangelist, or some vague general fear, or some other kind of influence.

3. The preaching of the Word and the call for decision should not be separated in our thinking.

4. This method surely carries in it the implication that sinners have an inherent power of decision and of self-conversion. Continue reading

The World’s Influence

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the desk of Charles Spurgeon:

“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:15)

I believe that one reason why the church at this present moment has so little influence over the world, is because the world has so much influence over the church! Nowadays, we hear professors pleading that they may do this, and do that—that they may live like worldlings. My sad answer to them, when they crave this liberty is, “Do it if you dare. It may not cost you much hurt, for you are so bad already. Your cravings show how rotten your hearts are. If you are hungering after such dogs food—go dogs, and eat the garbage! Continue reading

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