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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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GOD’S PROVIDENCE

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner D.D.:

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature.  “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point.  God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He were only in one place, and had but one object of attention.”  And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do.  The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

CHARLES SPURGEON ON SANCTIFICATION

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

Sanctification, in its operation upon our character, consists of three things. First, we die to sin. A wondrous death! By this Jesus strikes at the heart of evil. The death of Christ makes us die to sin. After this comes burial. We are buried with Christ and of this burial, Baptism is the type and token. Covered up to be forgotten, we are to sin as a dead shepherd to his flock.

As the sheep pass over the dead shepherd’s grave, or even feed thereon, yet he regards them not—so our old sins and habits come about us, but we, as dead men, know them no more. We are buried to them!

To complete our actual sanctification we receive heavenly quickening. “If we are dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.” Yes, we do live in Him and by Him, for, “He that believes in Him has everlasting life.” I trust you know what this means. Have you been thus dead, thus buried with Christ? Are you now thus quickened in the likeness of His Resurrection? This is your joyful privilege if you are, indeed, Believers in Christ and joined unto the Lord in one spirit. (1891, Sermon #2197)

LOVE OF THE BIBLE

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

The love of the bible will show itself in a believer’s readiness to bear evil as well as to do good. It will make him patient under provocation, forgiving when injured, meek when unjustly attacked, and quiet when slandered. It will make him hear much, put up with much and look over much, submit often and deny himself often, all for the sake of peace. (Practical Religion)

THE REFORMED TRADITION

James Montgomery BoiceJames Montgomery Boice:

Reformed theology gets its name from the sixteenth century Protestant Reformation, with its distinct theological emphases, but it is theology solidly based on the Bible itself. Believers in the reformed tradition regard highly the specific contributions of such people as Martin Luther, John Knox, and particularly John Calvin, but they also find their strong distinctives in the giants of the faith before them, such as Anselm and Augustine, and ultimately in the letters of Paul and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Reformed Christians hold to the doctrines characteristic of all Christians, including the Trinity, the true deity and true humanity of Jesus Christ, the necessity of Jesus’ atonement for sin, the church as a divinely ordained institution, the inspiration of the Bible, the requirement that Christians live moral lives, and the resurrection of the body. They hold other doctrines in common with evangelical Christians, such as justification by faith alone, the need for the new birth, the personal and visible return of Jesus Christ, and the Great Commission. (Reformed Theology)

FREE WILL

George WhitefieldGeorge Whitefield to John Wesley:

Man is nothing: he hath a free will to go to hell, but none to go to heaven, till God works in him to will and to do his good pleasure. (Dallimore, George Whitefield, 407)

ARE YOU THANKFUL?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)

Samuel A CainCan you believe that Christians are commanded to be thankful in all circumstances? (1 Thessalonians 5:18) If you are in the middle of troubles and worries, this command seems strange in our culture which judges matters according to whether they make you feel good or not.

Thankfulness honors God and strengthens our faith. We can’t be in a right relationship with God without a spirit of gratitude. Thankfulness must be practiced until it is a habit. There are times when we all think the world is too hard on us. Thankfulness is a soothing balm for distress and anxiety. Continue reading

THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

george-whitefield-pictureGeorge Whitefield:

The spirit of the world is hatred; that of Christ is love; the spirit of the world is vexation; that of Christ is pleasure: the spirit of the world is sorrow; that of Christ is joy: the spirit of the world is evil, and that of Christ is good: the spirit of the world will never satisfy us, but Christ’s spirit is all satisfaction: the spirit of the world is misery; that of Christ is ease.

THE CHURCH AND THE WORD OF GOD

Charles HodgeCharles Hodge:

All her triumphs over sin and error have been effected by the word of God. So long as she uses this and relies on it alone, she goes on conquering; but when any thing else, be it reason, science, tradition, or the commandments of men, is allowed to take its place or to share its office, then the church, or the Christian, is at the mercy of the adversary. Hoc signo vinces—the apostle may be understood to say to every believer and to the whole church. (A Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians)

ADDING THE WORLD TO THE CHURCH

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“If we add to our Churches by becoming worldly, by taking in persons who have never been born again. If we add to our Churches by accommodating the life of the Christian to the life of the worldling, our increase is worth nothing at all—it is a loss rather than a gain! If we add to our Churches by excitement, by making appeals to the passions rather than by explaining the Truth of God to the understanding. If we add to our Churches otherwise than by the power of the Spirit of God making men new creatures in Christ Jesus, the increase is of no worth whatever! ” (1892, Sermon #2265)

Manifesting His Glory

Jonathan EdwardsJonathan Edwards:

“God’s electing a certain definite number is a manifestation of His glory. It shows the glory of His divine sovereignty. God is declaring His absolute sovereignty over His creation. He is showing us just how far that sovereignty extends. In purposely choosing some and passing on others, He shows that His majesty and power are unparalleled. Those who do not see glory and dominion in election simply do not understand God. They are not aware of His greatness, and do not understand grace. Grace is defined in election. God chose His people to happiness and glory long before they were born. He chose them out of the mass of fallen mankind. He loved them before they knew Him. He chose them when they did not deserve to be chosen. That is grace! The doctrine of election shows that if those who received God’s grace had earnestly sought it, it was God’s grace that caused them to seek it. It shows that even their faith itself is the gift of God, and their persevering in a way of holiness unto glory is also the fruit of electing love. Believer’s love of God is the fruit of and because of God’s love to them. The giving of Christ, the preaching of the gospel, and the appointing of ordinances are all fruits of the grace of election. All the grace that is shown to mankind, either in this world or in the world to come, is comprised of the electing love of God.” (The Works of Jonathan Edwards, volume 2, page 936)

 

 

THE FIVE POINTS

drkennedyDr. D. James Kennedy:

The doctrines of grace are sometimes called “the five points of Calvinism,” and these five points are called the doctrines of grace for this reason: to whatever extent you deviate from one of them, you deviate from grace. But what help are these five points to the evangelist? Why should salvation be by grace alone? In order that it may be of God. Salvation is of God, from alpha to omega, from infinity past to infinity future, beginning and end — it is all of God and for His glory.

J. C. RYLE ON THE WORLD’S REWARD

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Laughter, ridicule, opposition and persecution are often the only reward which Christ’s followers get from the world.”

 

RETURNING HOME

Samuel A CainHonor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. (Ephesians 6:2-3 ESV)

Her children rise up and call her blessed; (Proverbs 31:28 ESV)

My wife and I have recently moved from Hickory, North Carolina to Eastover, North Carolina. Eastover is a community east of the Cape Fear River. During the 1800’s, it was once known as Flea Hill. This is where I grew up.

Why was it called Flea Hill? According to what I heard growing up and John A. Oakes’ The Story of Fayetteville, The Story of Fayetteville and The Upper Cape Fear, there was a tavern located here under which hogs and goats slept. The fleas lived where they could get to the hogs and goats – and, I suppose, the unsuspecting traveler. See more about the Town of Eastover at eastovernc.com.

My ancestor, Samuel R. Cain, (Born: 1815 – Bladen County, NC) moved to Flea Hill and married Nancy Jarrett (Born: December 12, 1818) in 1841. Needless to say, the roots of my family have been deep in Flea Hill (now Eastover, NC) for almost 180 years. So much for family history . . . Continue reading

THE HEAVIEST OBLIGATION OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH

A. W. TozerA. W. Tozer:

“The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him.”(The Knowledge of the Holy, 6)

NO DIFFERENCE IN RELIGIONS?

alistair beggAlistair Begg:

The idea that there are really no substantive differences between religions needs to be held up to careful scrutiny and declared fraudulent. For example, Islam says that Jesus was not crucified. Christianity says He was. Only one of us can be right. Judaism says Jesus was not the Messiah. Christianity says He was. Only one of us can be right. Hinduism says God has often been incarnate. Christianity says God was incarnate only in Jesus. We cannot both be right. Buddhism says that the world’s miseries will end when we do what is right. Christianity says we cannot do what is right. The world’s miseries will end when we believe what is right. (Made for His Pleasure, 126).

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