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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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MAKING DECISIONS IN THE NEW YEAR

John MacArthurI ran across this article recently and I thought it contained some excellent advice. Consequently, I am sharing some of it with you. John MacArthur offers us seven principles for making good decisions in the New Year.

         Will it benefit me spiritually?

All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify (1 Cor. 10:23).

  • Will it bring bondage?

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything (1 Cor. 6:12).

  • Will it defile God’s temple?

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

  • Will it cause anyone to stumble?

Food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak (1 Cor. 8:8-9).

  • Will it further the cause of evangelism?

Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved (1 Cor. 10:32-33).

  • Will it violate my conscience?

He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin (Rom. 14:23).

  • Will it bring glory to God?

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

That verse is clearly both the summary and the goal of all the principles listed above. Isn’t our heart’s cry to glorify our Lord and Savior with our lives? Think about your decision—Will He be glorified, honored, and praised through it? May we say along with Jesus, “I glorified You on the earth” (John 17:4).

So the next time you face a decision where Scripture is less than specific or overt, run it through the principles above and enjoy your freedom in Christ. Happy New Year from Grace to You! (The excerpts above are from John MacArthur’s article “Decision Making to the Glory of God”, 2010. If you wish to read the complete article, click on GRACE TO YOU.)

 

 

 

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MAKING THE BEST USE OF TIME

Samuel A CainLook carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)

Another year comes to an end. Wednesday night at 12:00 a.m. a New Year begins. It is an unfortunate attribute of aging that time seems to go by faster and faster. The clock and calendar seem to have wings. Time is short and there are so many responsibilities to perform that we often neglect our spiritual essentials.

The welfare of our souls in this life depends on using our time wisely. Time is precious, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14 ESV) We too, need time and fellowship with our Father. (Luke 2:49 ESV) We have a short time to prepare for eternity. Continue reading

A NEW SOUL

G. K. ChestertonG. K. Chesterton:

The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.

 

CHRIST IS YET TO COME AGAIN

J. C. RyleJ. C. Ryle:

Christ is yet to come again. The Great High Priest is yet to come forth from the holy of holies, to bless all the people who have believed on Him. One part of His work He did when He died upon the cross; another part of His work He is still doing, interceding for us at God’s right hand. But the third part of the High Priest’s office remains yet to be done. He has yet to come forth from the holy of holies, as the high priest did upon the day of atonement, to come forth from within the veil to bless the people. That part of Christ’s work is yet to come. He is now gone into Heaven itself, He is within the holy of holies: He is gone behind the veil. But our Great High Priest – a greater one than Aaron’s – shall yet come forth one day. He shall come in power and great glory. He shall come as He left the world, when He went up in the clouds of heaven. He shall come to gather from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, all who have loved His name and confessed Him before men, all who have heard His voice and followed Him. He shall gather them together into one happy company. There shall be no more weakness, and no more sorrow, no more parting, and no more separation, no more sickness, and no more death, no more disputing, and no more controversy, no more fighting with the world, the flesh, and devil, and, best of all, no more sin. That day shall be a happy day indeed, when the High Priest comes forth to do the third, last part of His work – to bless His believing people.

SOLOMON

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“It is worthwhile to listen to what Solomon has to say…and to listen carefully to what so experienced a man as Solomon has to say to young men. But I must remind you that a greater than Solomon is here, for the Spirit of God inspired the Proverbs! They are not merely jewels from earthly mines, but they are also precious treasures from the heavenly hills, so that the advice we have, here, is not only the counsel of a wise man, but the advice of that Incarnate Wisdom who speaks to us out of the Word of God! Would you become the sons of wisdom? Come and sit at the feet of Solomon! Would you become spiritually wise? Come and hear what the Spirit of God has to say by the mouth of this wise man!” (1895, Sermon #2406)

A HEART OF STONE

AugustineAugustine:

Can we possibly, without utter absurdity, maintain that there first existed in anyone the good virtue of a good will, to entitle him to the removal of his heart of stone? How can we say this, when all the time this heart of stone itself signifies precisely a will of the hardest kind, a will that is absolutely inflexible against God? For if a good will comes first, there is obviously no longer a heart of stone.

FULFILLING WHAT THE WORLD LACKED

John-SentamuThe people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)

Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York:

Up to the time that God took upon himself our human nature and was born of Mary, and entered into, and anointed, flesh and blood – “He was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary” – the world had lacked a human being perfect in holiness, distinguished in wisdom which inherent righteousness can bring to humanity. A child pre-eminent in love, compassion and forgiveness revealing the fatherhood of God. Humanity did not need a new religion; it needed a Divine presence in human flesh. …

God, in Jesus Christ came to save – not to judge. He lived in our unloving world, exiled from its Creator, for as long as we allowed him to. In the end, it wasn’t that Jesus rejected us because of all our failings, faults and a refusal to change, but that we rejected him. …

At the birth of Jesus Christ the world began to live a new life. Religious beliefs were translated out of words into humanity, life and spirit, out of the intellect into the simple impulses of the soul: “A child has been born for us, a Son given to us.”

And this Son’s character is “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b). Yes! His rule is characterized by everlasting justice and righteousness …

As followers of the Prince of Peace we are to be peace-makers rather than peace-lovers, and this is a challenging calling, but it is what we must be if we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined … for a child has been born for us, a son given to us…” (Isaiah 9:2, 6).

The details of the new-born child in the manger and the visit of the shepherds emphasize the simple human aspects of Jesus, while the angelic song shows us the divine purpose to be achieved through him.

God works through human agents to achieve his purposes. So let us feed those who hunger with the Bread come down from heaven. Let us give shelter to the homeless with him who could find no room in the inn. Let us welcome him into the inn of our lives, so we might be fully alive, fully human again.  Amen. (Excerpts from Christmas Sermon, 2012)

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