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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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A LITTLE OF CHRIST, PLEASE!

D. A. Carson:

D. A. CarsonSome Christians want enough of Christ to be identified with him but not enough to be seriously inconvenienced; they genuinely cling to basic Christian orthodoxy but do not want to engage in serious Bible study; they value moral probity, especially of the public sort, but do not engage in war against inner corruptions; they fret over the quality of the preacher’s sermon but do not worry much over the quality of their own prayer life. Such Christians are content with mediocrity. (A Call To Spiritual Reformation,121)

TIME ALONE WITH THE LORD

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Charles H Spurgeon“There is a story told of me and of some person—I never knew who it was—who desired to see me on a Saturday night when I had shut myself up to make ready for the Sabbath. He was very great and important and so the maid came to say that someone desired to see me. I bade her say that it was my rule to see no one at that time. Then he was more important and impressive, still, and said, “Tell Mr. Spurgeon that a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ desires to see him immediately!” The frightened servant brought the message but the sender gained little by it, for my answer was, “Tell him I am busy with his Master and cannot see servants now.” Sometimes you must use strong measures. Did not our Lord tell His messengers, on one occasion, to salute no man on the way? Courtesy must give place to devotion! It is incumbent on you that you should be alone with your Lord in prayer—and if intruders force an entrance—they must be sent about their business.” (1887, Sermon #1993)

OBJECTIONS TO REFORMED THEOLOGY

Loraine Boettner:

Loraine BoettnerIn the light of modern scientific exegesis, it is quite evident that the objections which are raised against the Reformed Theology are emotional or philosophical rather than exegetical.  And had men been content to interpret the language of Scripture according to the acknowledged prin­ciples of interpretation, the faith of Christians might have been far more harmonious.  Our opponents, says Cunning­ham, are able to “argue with some plausibility only when they are dealing with single passages, or particular classes of passages, but keeping out of view, or throwing into the background, the general mass of Scripture evidence bearing upon the whole subject.  When we take a conjunct view of the whole body of Scripture statements, manifestly intended to make known to us the nature, causes, and consequences of Christ’s death, literal and figurative—view them in com­bination with each other—and fairly estimate what they are fitted to teach, there is no good ground for doubt as to the general conclusions which we should feel ourselves con­strained to adopt.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

I WANT TO HEAR GOD!

Samuel A CainBut the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26 ESV)

There are many who call on God without really knowing who He is. They want a sign from God to help them make a difficult decision, or a special feeling that urges them one way or another. Many would like to hear the audible voice God.

If someone calls your name and you do not recognize the voice, you probably do not know that person very well. Therefore, how can someone recognize the voice of God if they have not spent time with Him in the Bible and prayer? Continue reading

THE REFORMED MIND

Samuel A CainSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2 ESV)

“Screw the truth into men’s minds.” (Richard Baxter)

After salvation and the pursuit of holiness, the great need of Christians is to grow in their understanding of the faith and to become competent in rationally sharing, explaining and defending it. Reformed Christianity provides a sound and organized framework of consistent doctrinal beliefs and practices (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith, etc.) which, I believe, represents accurately the Word of God found in the Scriptures.

Such men as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, B.B. Warfield, Charles Hodge, A.W. Pink, James Montgomery Boice, R. C. Sproul, James Kennedy, and Dr. D.A. Carson are just a representative few in a long line of reformed thinkers, ministers, and teachers who have shared the Truth of the Bible through their ministries. The Reformed church has traditionally remained true (although there are many exceptions in our time) to the admonition of the Apostle Paul: Continue reading

THE LIGHT OF THE BIBLE

Robert Murray M'CheyneRobert Murray M’Cheyne:

When you are reading a book in a dark room, and come to a difficult part, you take it to a window to get more light. So take your Bibles to Christ.

THE HUMBLE PERSON

J.C.-RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“‎A humble and prayerful person will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud student will utterly fail to discern.”

SUNDAY SCHOOLS

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“Your Sunday schools are admirable, but what is their purpose if you do not teach the Gospel in them? You get children together and keep them quiet for an hour-and-a-half, and then send them home—but what is the good of it?” (1887, Sermon #1987)

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.

THE CHRISTIAN MIND

Samuel A CainSet your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, (Colossians 3:2 ESV)

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. (Psalm 119:15 ESV)

My college philosophy professor once said, “The man who does not know truth will not recognize evil when it comes. The man who knows truth will also know evil.” It is through the mind of Christ that we know truth. Paul writes in Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

Natural man is born with the predisposition to set his mind on desiring the pleasures of this world, even though they bring him sorrow. (Romans 8:5-6 ESV) If a man is born again, he has access to the mind of Christ in a way which was impossible before the Holy Spirit came to dwell in him. (1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV) This partnership of the Holy Spirit and man seeks the wisdom of Christ in order to live a holy life like Jesus. Such wisdom enables us to avoid vain “philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8 ESV) Continue reading

BIBLE READING

Bible StudyJ.C. Ryle:

“Next to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible reading. By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace.”

Happy is that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it! Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!”

 

READING THE BIBLE

Charles SpurgeonCharles Haddon Spurgeon:

Some people like to read so many [Bible] chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul as oak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart!

 

INTERPRETING SCRIPTURE WITH PREJUDICE

Bible StudyJ.I. Packer:

We approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world…It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us.

WAITING

Samuel A CainWait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14 ESV)

But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7 ESV)

Most of us probably tend to grow impatient when we have to wait. The world’s desire for immediate gratification has influenced us deeply. We hate waiting on fast food or on eBay to deliver our purchases. This carries over into our spiritual lives as well.

Waiting seems to be one way that God builds our character. Waiting during challenging times helps us to understand our dependency on God and grow in intimacy with Him. Waiting means confidence in God’s wisdom. It means trusting in God’s promises, providence, and sovereignty.

Waiting on God does not mean sitting down in a comfortable chair and taking a break. It is spending time in God’s Word and praying for wisdom. Waiting on God will result in a prosperous spirit and renewed strength. (Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV) Waiting on God includes keeping His Word in our hearts. We commit ourselves to biblical actions of faith in God’s goodness, provision and timing. Continue reading

THE WHOLE BIBLE

A. W. TozerAW. Tozer:

The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.

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