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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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  • Recommended Reading

The Bible and Culture

Byang KatoByang Kato (1936-1975):

“It is the Bible that must judge the culture. Where a conflict results, the cultural element must give way.”

Sex and Faith

How the West Really Lost GodDr. Benjamin Wiker reviews the book, How the West Really Lost God, by Mary Eberstadt at tothesource. I encourage you to read the entire article:

From 1972 to 2002 the percentage of Americans attending church or synagogue dropped from 41% to 31%, and much of this fall is connected “by the fact that fewer adults are now married with children.” Wherever we look, we find that the destruction of the family causes or accelerates the destruction of faith. And, to note the obvious, the sexual revolution put people at odds with the moral doctrines of the faith. “The more people had sex outside of marriage, the less incentive there was to form marriages in the first place—and the more reluctance to sign on to official Christian (or similar religious) teaching in these matters. With more people living without marriage, more men and women had profound reasons to tell themselves that the Judeo-Christian moral code was out of date—and to be kindly inclined toward experts and even clergy purveying the message, as more and more men and women of the cloth would come to do.”

That last point has a most serious sting we should not miss. The very churches—the so-called mainline churches—that liberalized their sexual moral code, are the very churches who have, since the 1960s, experienced the greatest decline in numbers.

CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE HERE. . . .

Look to the Bible for Moral Guidance and for Wisdom

Dennis PragerRadio talk show host Dennis Prager:

“I first look to the Bible for moral guidance and for wisdom. I say this even though I am not a Christian (I am a Jew, and a non-Orthodox one at that). And I say this even though I attended an Ivy League graduate school (Columbia), where I learned nothing about the Bible there except that it was irrelevant, outdated and frequently immoral. I say this because there is nothing — not any religious or secular body of work — that comes close to the Bible in forming the moral bases of Western Civilization and therefore of nearly all moral progress in the world. … If not from the Bible, from where should people get their values and morals? The university? The New York Times editorial page? … The universities and their media supporters have taught a generation of Americans the idiocy that men and women are basically the same. And they are the institutions that teach that America’s founders were essentially moral reprobates — sexist and racist rich white men.”

Continue reading here. . . .

Contentment

MaterialismNow there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV)

Humanity seems always to fall prey to the false perception that contentment is achieved by the acquisition of material possessions. A false and fleeting happiness is often promoted in our culture at the cost of finding true joy and contentment. Isn’t the purpose of the commercials we are bombarded with every day to make us discontent with what we have by promising us happiness if we purchase a new car or new clothes? Therefore, those who abide by this materialistic philosophy will often experience discontent as the newness of their latest possession begins to wear away. Are you content?

The Apostle Paul writes, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13) Paul’s attitude makes it clear that contentment cannot be entrusted to circumstances or things. The secret of his contentment was his trust in God. Paul believed that the providential care of God placed him where he needed to be and thus he found contentment and rest.

Blaise Pascal once observed that, “All the misfortunes of men spring from their not knowing how to live quietly at home in their own rooms.” Pascal is not advocating we become house bound hermits. He is pointing out that our lack of contentment is because we are dissatisfied with ourselves until we find our satisfaction in God. Christ must be our greatest treasure – our pearl of great price. Only He will satisfy the hearts of those who trust in Him.

Trust in God and you will enjoy the blessing of a contented mind. It is God’s gift to the Christian. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (Hebrews 13:5) How can we fail to find contentment in such a promise as this?

Samuel at Gilgal

Stomping on Jesus

Stomp on Jesus?Christopher White writes:

In early March, Ryan Rotela, a junior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, refused to participate in a class exercise in which members of the class were instructed to write the name “JESUS” on a sheet of paper and then to stomp on it. When Rotela complained a few days later to university officials, he was informed he had been suspended from the class for not participating in the exercise.

In recent weeks this story has shocked the nation as reports of this story began to make its ways around local news networks and newspapers. The online website Mediate confirmed that the exercise that Rotela refused to participate in was, indeed, listed in the instructor edition of the college textbook: Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.

Continue reading this article here. . . .

The Absent Father

Absent FathersAs Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation has shown, the best anti-poverty program is marriage:

When a child’s father is married to his mother, the probability of the child’s living in poverty drops by 82 percent.

Absent fathers don’t just harm their children economically. A father’s influence on children is documented and widely accepted. Adolescents without dads in their lives tend to exhibit more anti-social behavior. To be blunt, they get into trouble. Social science indicates that fathers play a different and complementary role to mothers in raising children, particularly sons. . . .

If American culture doesn’t honor the role of fathers, young people won’t understand the importance of young men growing up in responsibility – and young women won’t understand what to look for in a mate. Rather than honoring fatherhood, though, too often our society minimizes the importance of fathers in the home. So much so that a live-in dad is seen, at best, as optional.

Continue reading this article by Derrick Morgan. . . .

The Brain and the Bible

BrainMany people today seem to expect God to flash the answers to their problems before their eyes without having to engage the brain. What is wrong with this expectation? What role does the Bible play in this?

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