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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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THE FALSE DISCIPLE

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)


There are many people who claim to be Christians, call Jesus Lord, preach, teach Sunday school and give to the church, however, they are false disciples. Someday, Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me.”

While the false disciple claims to be a man of God, he actually represents his own self-deceptions. He is of his father the devil and his fruit will betray his words. While he may deceive others and even himself, he cannot fool the omniscient God who will judge him. Therefore, examine yourself to make sure you are doing the will of God and not just speaking idle words.

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TRAVELING ON THE GOOD WAY

Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ (Jeremiah 6:16, ESV)

In this age of the Global Positioning System (GPS), we may navigate our cars to any place we desire and enjoy a large measure of certainty that our GPS devices will guide us to the correct location. However, it is often not so easy to navigate the highways of life. The decisions we make in finding our way may put us far from Bunyan’s “Celestial City”.

The verse above provides wisdom for the journey of life. Where various routes meet and we are unsure of the way, we should look to the Scriptures to guide our travel. The Scriptures will lead us to Christ and salvation. This ancient book, the Bible, is the best map and directory.

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OPENING HEAVEN’S GATES

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2 ESV)

Prayer may be described as our lifeline to God. If God desires us to pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV) then it is certain that prayer must be a top priority in our living the Christian life. In prayer, we not only bring our petitions to God, but we also seek His Will for guidance and wisdom in our daily lives. Prayer and worship help us to stop focusing on ourselves and focuses our thoughts on God who is the sovereign ruler of all. This ability to talk with God is a precious privilege and was purchased by the blood of Christ. If we are not praying, we are not communicating with our Father in heaven. A failure to communicate may mean our relationship to Him is in trouble.

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THE LIBERTINE

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. (1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV)

A libertine is described (especially from the 17th century on) as a person with an immoral lifestyle who is primarily interested in sexual pleasure. (see Merriam-Webster) This definition was once considered to apply chiefly to men, but in our lifetime, it is equally applicable to women. Today’s culture glorifies the libertine as a hero. Sexual sins have become man’s declaration of independence from God.

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WHEN FORGIVENESS IS DIFFICULT

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 ESV)

Have you ever been hurt by someone? When we are hurt, we often desire for the offender to suffer as we have. We call it “justice”. Yet, how often do we offend God or grieve the Holy Spirit by our addictions to various sins? Christians know the hunger for forgiveness when we sin. We pray for mercy for our transgressions, not justice.

How can we ask God for forgiveness when we fail to offer forgiveness to others? Paul writes:

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EVIL IS REAL

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)

Many in today’s world do not believe in evil. They believe that such ideas are based on cultural beliefs relative to various societies in different places and times. The paradigm key here is the word “relative”. Ethics, morals, right or wrong, and good or evil are considered “relative” to the circumstances people encounter in life. The idea of a spiritual being named Satan or the devil, who is an embodiment of evil, is viewed with contempt as the product of ignorant superstitious minds.

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SUFFICIENT GRACE

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ESV)

God’s grace is always sufficient in times of extraordinary troubles. We, however, are not very patient and quickly begin to despair when our prayers for relief are not answered in the time and manner we desire. These are the times when we discover the divine power to persevere in spite of our own weakness. God’s power is manifested in our endurance. Self-righteousness, worldly wisdom, and trusting in your own strength will ultimately fall flat. Trusting in Jesus Christ will never fail you. Jesus said:

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