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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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HE WILL LOVE YOU TO THE END

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“For the Lord will not cast off forever” (Lamentations 3:31)

He may cast away for a season, but not for ever. A woman may leave off her ornaments for a few days, but she will not forget them, nor throw them upon the dunghill. It is not like the Lord to cast off those whom He loves: for, “having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” Some talk of our being in grace and out of it, as if we were like rabbits that run in and out of their burrows: but, indeed, it is not so. The Lord’s love is a far more serious and abiding matter than this.

He chose us from eternity, and He will love us throughout eternity. He loved us so as to die for us, and we may therefore be sure that His love will never die. His honor is so wrapped up in the salvation of the believer that He can no more cast him off than He can cast off His own robes of office as King of glory. No, no! The Lord Jesus, as a Head, never casts off His members; as a Husband, He never casts off His bride.

Did you think you were cast off? Why did you think so evil of the Lord who has betrothed you to Himself? Cast off such thoughts, and never let them lodge in your soul again. “The Lord hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). “He hateth putting away” (Malachi 2:16). (Faith’s Checkbook)

BORN FROM ABOVE

george-whitefield-pictureGeorge Whitefield:

These depraved natures of ours, must necessarily undergo a universal moral change; our understandings must be enlightened; our wills, reason, and consciences, must be renewed; our affections must be drawn toward, and fixed upon things above; and because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven, this corruptible must put on incorruption, this mortal must put on immortality. And thus old things must literally pass away, and behold all things, even the body as well as the faculties of the soul, must become new. This moral change is what some call, repentance, some, conversion, some, regeneration; choose what name you please, I only pray God, that we all may have the thing. The scriptures call it holiness, sanctification, the new creature, and our Lord calls it a “New birth, or being born again, or born from above.”

These are not barely figurative expressions, or the flights of eastern language, nor do they barely denote a relative change of state conferred on all those who are admitted into Christ’s church by baptism; but they denote a real, moral change of heart and life, a real participation of the divine life in the soul of man. Continue reading

ACCESS TO GOD BY PRAYER

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

God in his Word manifests himself ready at all times to allow us this privilege [prayer]. He sits on a throne of grace, and there is no veil to hide this throne and keep us from it. The veil is rent from the top to the bottom. The way is open at all times, and we may go to God as often as we please. Although God be infinitely above us, yet we may come with boldness. Heb. 4:14, 16, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” How wonderful is it that such worms as we should be allowed to come boldly at all times to so great a God! — Thus God indulges all kinds of persons, of all nations. 1 Cor. 1:2, 3, “unto all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours; grace be unto you,” etc. Yea, God allows the most vile and unworthy: the greatest sinners are allowed to come through Christ. And he not only allows, but encourages and frequently invites them, yea, manifests himself as delighting in being sought to by prayer. Pro. 15:8, “The prayer of the upright is his delight;” and in the Song 2:14, we have Christ saying to the spouse, Continue reading

THE GREAT CAMPAIGN

Martyn Lloyd-JonesMartyn Lloyd-Jones:

The main trouble with the Christian Church today is that she is too much like a clinic, too much like a hospital; that is why the great world is going to hell outside! Look at the great campaign, look at it objectively, look at it from God’s standpoint. Forget yourself and your temporary troubles and ills for the moment; fight in the army. It is not a clinic you need; you must realize that we are in a barracks, and that we are involved in a mighty campaign.

REAL CHRISTIANITY

MaterialismSomeone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21 ESV)

According to Francis Schaeffer: “Christianity is not just a mental assent that certain doctrines are true — not even that the right doctrines are true. This is only the beginning. This would be rather like a starving man sitting in front of great heaps of food and saying, ‘I believe the food exists; I believe it is real,’ and yet never eating it. It is not enough merely to say, ‘I am a Christian,’ and then in practice to live as if present contact with the supernatural were something far off and strange. Many Christians I know seem to act as though they come in contact with the supernatural just twice — once when they are justified and become a Christian and once when they die.” Continue reading

PILGRIMS BLESSED

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

For that grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared, And teacheth us, that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live soberly and righteously, and godly in this present world, Looking for that blessed hope, and appearing of that glory of that mighty God, and of our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purge us to be a peculiar people unto himself, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:11-14 Geneva Bible)

After holding forth the grace of God to animate us, and pave the way for His true worship, he removes the two greatest obstacles which stand in the way, viz., ungodliness, to which we are by nature too prone, and worldly lusts, which are of still greater extent. Under ungodliness, he includes not merely superstition, but everything at variance with the true fear of God. Worldly lusts are equivalent to the lusts of the flesh. Thus he enjoins us, in regard to both tables of the Law, to lay aside our own mind, and renounce whatever our own reason and will dictate. Then he reduces all the actions of our lives to three branches, sobriety, righteousness, and godliness. Continue reading

THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN

Bishop J. C. RyleBishop J. C. Ryle:

Reader, would you know the security for the perseverance of God’s own people? Would you know why it is that Christ’s sheep shall never perish, and none shall ever pluck them out of His hand? It is a miraculous thing. When you look at the believer’s heart, listen to the believer’s prayers, mark the believer’s confessions,–when you see how a just man may fall, sometimes seven times,–when you see, with all this, the believer’s perseverance, it is a marvel indeed. To carry a candle upon a stormy night, when winds and gusty blasts are blowing from every quarter,–to carry it still burning, steadily burning, along the street,–this is a wonderful achievement. To go over a stormy sea in a little boat,–to mount billow after billow, and not see the waves breaking over the boat, and overturning it,–this is well-nigh a miracle. To see a little child tottering along the crowded street, a child some three or four years old –to see it tottering on and making its way in safety, from one end of a long street to the other,–this is a mighty marvel. But, after all, what is this, but the life, and history, and experience of every true Christian? Though he falls, he rises again; though he is cast down, he is not destroyed. He goes on from one position to another, like the moon upon a stormy night, plunging from one cloud into another, yet by-and-by shining out again and walking in brightness. What is the secret of it all? It is the continual intercession of a mighty Friend at the right hand of God: a Friend that never slumbers and never sleeps: a Friend who cares for the believer morning, noon, and night. The intercession of Christ is the secret of the perseverance of the Christian. (“Able to Save”)

THE GREAT DESTROYER OF MAN

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“The great destroyer of man is the will of man. I do not believe that man’s free will has ever saved a soul, but man’s free will has been the ruin of multitudes. ‘You would not,’ is still the solemn accusation of Christ against guilty men. Did He not say, at another time, ‘You will not come unto Me, that you might have life’? The human will is desperately set against God and is the great devourer and destroyer of thousands of good intentions and emotions which never come to anything permanent because the will is acting in opposition to that which is right and true.” (1894, Sermon #2381)

THE BLESSING OF PRAYER

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

The Most High is a God that hears prayer. Though he is infinitely above all and stands in no need of creatures, yet he is graciously pleased to take a merciful notice of poor worms of the dust. He manifests and presents himself as the object of prayer, appears as sitting on a mercy-seat that men may come to him by prayer. When they stand in need of anything, he allows them to come, and ask it of him, and he is wont to hear their prayers. God in his Word hath given many promises that he will hear their prayers. The Scripture is full of such examples, and in his dispensations towards his church, manifests himself to be a God that hears prayer.

Here it may be inquired what is meant by God’s hearing prayer? There are two things implied in it.

First, his accepting the supplications of those who pray to him. Their address to him is well taken, he is well-pleased with it. He approves of their asking such mercies as they request of him and approves of their manner of doing it. He accepts of their prayers as an offering to him. He accepts the honor they do him in prayer. Continue reading

HUSBANDS AND WIVES

christianmarriageAnd the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:22-24 ESV)

John Piper:

Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh. If you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and His church.

Today, my daughter Molly is getting married. I pray, and would ask you to consider praying, that she and Cory would have a Christ honoring marriage and the blessing of God.

May 22, 2014

THE MARRED CLAY

George WhitefieldGeorge Whitefield   (1714-1770):

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:1-6 ESV)

Had we kept our original integrity, the law of God would have yet been written in our hearts, and thereby the want of a divine revelation, at least such as ours, would have been superseded; but being fallen, instead of rising in rebellion against God, we ought to be filled with unspeakable thankfulness to our all bountiful Creator, who by a few lines in his own books hath discovered more to us, than all the philosophers and most learned men in the world could, or would, have discovered, though they had studied to all eternity. Continue reading

MITHRAIC PAGANISM VS. CHRISTIANITY

350px-Mithras_slaying_the_BullDuring my undergraduate years, I was assigned to write a paper on Mithraism for a course in ancient religions. The topic included the “similarities” Mithraism seemed to have, (information greatly exaggerated) with Christianity. Attempts continue to be made to build a false connection between Mithra and Jesus. Such assertions abound from various sources critical of Christianity. I hope the following information will aid you if you are ever confronted with these false claims.

Those who claim there is a connection between Mithraism and Christianity are really restructuring Mithraism according to preconceived ideas. In fact, there are no existing texts from the pagan followers of this belief system. Some artifacts found in caves, however, and references from ancient historians do prove that it existed. These artifacts have been dated to 70 years after the beginning of Christianity and many believe they are from the middle of the second century A.D.

Historians tell us there were two forms of Mithraism: Roman Mithraism and Iranian Mithraism. They are connected by little more than the name. Roman Mithraism was a new creation (influenced by the Greeks) which was very popular among the military. Its followers adopted some Christian ideas along the way. Continue reading

IN A TIME OF BACKSLIDING

Robert Murray M'CheyneRobert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843):

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? (Psalm 85:6 ESV)

There are many times when, like Ephesus, many of God’s children lose their first love. Iniquity abounds, and the love of many waxes cold. Believers lose their close and near communion with God. They go out of the holiest, and pray at a distance with a curtain between. They lose their fervency, sweetness, and fullness in secret prayer. They do not pour out their hearts to God.

They have lost their clear discovery of Christ. They see Him but dimly. They have lost the sight of His beauty — the savor of His good ointment — the hold of His garment. They seek him, but find Him not. They cannot stir up the heart to lay hold on Christ.

The Spirit dwells scantily in their soul. The living water seems almost dried up within them. The soul is dry and barren. Corruptions are strong: grace is very weak. Continue reading

HE HEARS PRAYER

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. (Psalm 65:2 ESV)

This psalm seems to be written, either as a psalm of praise to God for some remarkable answer of prayer, in the bestowment of some public mercy, or else on occasion of some special faith and confidence which David had that his prayer would be answered. It is probable that this mercy bestowed, or expected to be bestowed, was some great public mercy for which David had been very earnest and importunate, and had annexed a vow to his prayer. And that he had vowed to God that if he would grant him his request he would render him praise and glory. — This seems to be the reason why he expresses himself as he does in the first verse of the psalm, “Praise waits for thee, O God, in Zion; and unto thee shall the vow be performed,” i.e. that praise which I have vowed to give thee, on the answer of my prayer, waits for thee, to be given thee as soon as thou shalt have answered my prayer; and the vow which I made to thee shall be performed.

In the verse of the text, there is a prophecy of the glorious times of the gospel, when “all flesh shall come” to the true God, as to the God who hears prayer, which is here mentioned as what distinguishes the true God from the gods to whom the nations prayed and sought, those gods who cannot hear, and cannot answer their prayer. The time was coming when all flesh should come to that God who doth hear prayer. — Hence we gather this doctrine, that it is the character of the Most High, that he is a God who hears prayer. (“A Prayer-Hearing God”)

DIVINE RECOMPENSE

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“He that watereth shall be watered also himself.” (Proverbs 11:25)

If I carefully consider others, God will consider me; and in some way or other He will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the Lord will consider me. Let me look after little children, and the Lord will treat me as His child. Let me feed His flock, and He will feed me. Let me water His garden, and He will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the Lord’s own promise; be it mine to fulfill the condition, and then to expect its fulfillment.

I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to lament. It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish, and out of love to my Lord Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. Continue reading

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