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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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WHEN THE SPIRIT COMES

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:13 ESV)

See, my dear Brothers in the ministry, how little store the Holy Spirit sets by originality? We have men, nowadays, straining to be original! Strain the other way, for listen, ‘He shall not speak of Himself’—not even the Holy Spirit—‘He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak.’ He is the Repeater of the Father’s message, not the inventor of His own! So let it be with us ministers. We are not to make up a Gospel as we go along, as I have heard some say. We are not to shape it to the times in which we live, and suit it to the congregations to which we speak. God forbid! Let this be true of every one of us, ‘He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak.’” (1893, Sermon #2307)

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THE PLAN OF GOD

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

The very essence of consistent theism is that God would have an exact plan for the world, would foreknow the actions of all the creatures He proposed to create, and through His all-inclusive providence would control the whole system.  If He foreordained only certain isolated events, confusion both in the natural world and in human affairs would be introduced into the system and He would need to be constantly developing new plans to accomplish what he desired.  His government of the world then would be a capricious patchwork of new expedients; He would at best govern only in a general way, and would be ignorant of much of the future.  But no one with proper ideas of God believes that He has to change His mind every few days to make room for unexpected happenings, which were not included in His original plan.  If the perfection of the divine plan be denied, no consistent stopping place will be found short of atheism …

History in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God.  His decrees are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan, and we should never think of Him suddenly evolving a plan or doing something which He had not thought of before. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

HEAVENLY MUSIC

Bible StudyWilliam P. White:

The Bible is a harp with a thousand strings. Play on one to the exclusion of its relationship to the others, and you will develop discord. Play on all of them, keeping them in their places in the divine scale, and you will hear heavenly music all the time.

CHRIST AND THE BIBLE

Bishop J. C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle:

“Let it be a settled principle in our minds, in reading the Bible, that Christ is the central sun of the whole book. So long as we keep Him in view, we shall never greatly err in our search for spiritual knowledge. Once losing sight of Christ, we shall find the whole Bible dark and full of difficulty.” (The Gospel of Luke)

WHEN YOUR LIVER DOESN’T SHIVER AND THE FLEECE STAYS DRY!

Samuel A Cain“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV)

I must confess that I have borrowed the title and idea for this article from my pastor. However, I am sure he will forgive me for the liberty I have taken. I alone am responsible for the following article and its contents.

Most Christians would like to hear from God when they are about to make an important decision or going through tough times. We all want God to speak to us in some manner. Is this a scriptural practice for us today? Is it possible we are erring in asking for personal extra-biblical revelation? Are we asking for information the Bible does not offer? The historic Christian church has always asserted that God’s revelation to mankind is limited to the teachings of the Bible. The Bible contains all the spiritual truth that God intends to make known. The Westminster Confession of Faith tells us: Continue reading

THE HANDBOOK FOR LIFE

Michael HortonMichael Horton:

To preach the Bible as ‘the handbook for life,’ or as the answer to every question, rather than as the revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached Scripture, as we can see clearly from the questions they asked Jesus. For the Pharisees, the Scriptures were a source of trivia for life’s dilemmas. 

LIVING UNDER THE CROSS

JohnCalvinJohn Calvin:

There are many reasons which make it necessary for us to live constantly under the cross. Feeble as we are by nature, and prone to ascribe all perfection to our flesh, unless we receive as it were ocular demonstration of our weakness, we readily estimate our virtue above its proper worth, and doubt not that, whatever happens, it will stand unimpaired and invincible against all difficulties. Hence we indulge a stupid and empty confidence in the flesh, and then trusting to it wax proud against the Lord himself; as if our own faculties were sufficient without his grace …

Nay, even the holiest of men, however well aware that they stand not in their own strength, but by the grace of God, would feel too secure in their own fortitude and constancy, were they not brought to a more thorough knowledge of themselves by the trial of the cross. This feeling gained even upon David, “In my prosperity I Said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled,” (Ps. xxx. 6, 7.) He confesses that in prosperity his feelings were dulled and blunted, so that, neglecting the grace of God, on which alone he ought to have depended, he leant to himself, and promised himself perpetuity. If it so happened to this great prophet, who of us should not fear and study caution? Though in tranquility they flatter themselves with the idea of greater constancy and patience, yet, humbled by adversity, they learn the deception. (The Christian Life)

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