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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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For Freedom, Christ has set us Free!

PrayerLet us remember who we are and the God Who is has brought us thus far on this July 4th, 2013.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19 ESV)

For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 ESV)

“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” (John Adams)

“Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.” (Charles Carroll, signer of the Declaration of Independence, To James McHenry on November 4, 1800)

“God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. I also believe that, without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel” (Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention of 1787)

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (1 Peter 2:16 ESV)

A Bible-Reading People

Horace GreeleyHorace Greeley (Editor and Politician):

“It is impossible to enslave mentally or socially a Bible-reading people. The principles of the Bible are the groundwork of human freedom.”

The Military’s Anti-Christian Offensive

Anti Christian BigotryTony Perkins of the Family Research Council reports:

The … Pentagon may not have been responsible for blocking the Southern Baptist Convention website, but there’s no mistaking their involvement in the military’s latest anti-Christian offensive. (Emphasis on the word “offensive!”) In an absolute stunner, the Pentagon is meeting with Mikey Weinstein–a man who compared Christian evangelism to “rape”–to vet its new instructional guide on religious tolerance in the military.

Weinstein, who heads up the cross-crushing, prayer-prosecuting Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), is the same man who just published a blistering rant calling evangelicals “fundamentalist Christian monsters.” (And that’s the nice part!) “We must,” he writes, “vigorously support the continuing efforts to expose pathologically anti-gay, Islamophobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators for what they are: die-hard enemies of the United States Constitution. Monsters, one and all. To do any less would be to roll out a red carpet to those who would usher in a blood-drenched, draconian era of persecutions, nationalistic militarism, and superstitious theocracy.” . . .

Based on what we know of the document, which has yet to be distributed, the regulations have Weinstein’s fingerprints all over it. Among other things, the Washington Post explains, it threatens to treat service members caught witnessing as enemies of the state.

Continue reading here. . . .

Grote Industries granted an Injunction against the Federal Government’s Health Insurance

Grote IndustriesOn Jan. 30, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction against the federal government’s health insurance contraceptive mandate to Grote Industries, a Catholic-owned business, reversing a lower court’s ruling that earlier dismissed the business’ lawsuit.

Grote, which creates vehicle components, is a family-owned company based in Indiana. The company self-insures its 1,148 full-time employees, and the Grote family objects to the mandate’s required coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization.

Continue reading here. . . .

Liberty in Christ

Grow in GraceSinclair B. Ferguson:

When we impose man-made regulations upon ourselves (or others) and lose sight of our liberty to do or not do those things which Scripture neither commands nor forbids, we destroy the fruit of the Spirit and we cease to grow (or to allow others to grow). (Grow in Grace)

The Bosom of America is Open

George WashingtonGeorge Washington:

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.”

Amazing Speech at the National Prayer Breakfast

Religious Liberty

John AdamsJohn Adams:

Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man’s nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God… Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments. (Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law — 1765)

Using the IRS to Challenge Religious Freedom

Freedom From Religion Foundation

From OneNewsNow.com:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sued the Internal Revenue Service in an effort to force the agency to crack down on churches. . . .

“Well, I think this is just further evidence that groups like Freedom From Religion Foundation or Americans United for Separation of Church and State are trying to use the Johnson Amendment in the tax code as a tool of intimidation to silence and censor churches,” contends Erik Stanley, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation argues that churches and religious organizations have become more involved in political campaigns, “blatantly and deliberately flaunting the electioneering restrictions.”

The lawsuit, filed in Wisconsin, cites several examples, including full-page ads that ran this fall in The New York Times and other newspapers by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that featured a photo of renowned evangelist Billy Graham urging Americans to vote along biblical principles.

Click here to read more. . . .

Who Serves Who?

The Pursuit of HolinessJerry Bridges:

We have to take control of our bodies, and make them our servants instead of our masters. (The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 111)

Never Be Idle!

Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson:

Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.”

Election-Day Advice from John Calvin

The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s Sermons on Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 1:13), updated into modern English. The source of the following material is from American Vision. John Calvin writes:

Now we must also observe this saying of Moses: Choose ye men of wisdom and of good skill, men well-tried, that they may be set over you according to your tribes, even over thousands, over hundreds, and over fifties, as we shall see afterward. Hereby it is shown to us that when we have to elect men to hold public office, we must choose them with discretion and not take on the fly those who thrust themselves in first. Neither must they be taken for favor or for some vanity that appears good, but that God presides over the election and that such men may be selected as are known to be appropriate to exercise the estate to which they are called. And we must especially observe that which is rehearsed in Exodus 18 (as already mentioned): for there Jethro says that we must take men that are virtuous, fearing God, lovers of the truth, and haters of avarice. Who is he that speaks this? A poor pagan man, as I have said already. Yet God governs his tongue in such a way that we cannot have a better teacher than him when we are about to choose men to govern a people. First of all he requires men that are virtuous, such as are not effeminate, but have the capacity to be provided with such a charge, and have good zeal, courage, and magnanimity. . . .

Seeing then that such a lesson is told to us by a heathen man, I pray you what a shame shall it be that we which profess ourselves to be brought up in the law of God and in his Gospel, and have our ears so much beaten with it, should still be novices in the doctrine, or at least practice it so poorly among us? And yet for all that, if we do not use it to our profit, it is written to be kept to our great confusion and to make us inexcusable.

So then, let us weigh well this saying where Moses exhorts the people to choose men of understanding and wisdom, and proven men. For if we put a man in office upon nothing but hope, without good knowledge and experience of him, is it not a defiling of the seat of God and of justice? Indeed, God reserves to himself principality over all men, as he is also worthy to have, and yet notwithstanding he will be served by mortal men as by his ministers and officers. … Shall he that would not take a cowherd or a shepherd into his house upon bare hope, without knowledge or understanding of him what he is, shall he, I ask, go set a man in God’s seat, of whom he has no knowledge, and of whom he has no experience to judge what that man is? Now then, let us be well advised, when God gives this grace, or rather privilege, of electing men who govern (which is not common to all people), let us not abuse that gift of God in any way, or else we shall be amazed to see ourselves bereft thereof. And behold the reason why so many tyrannies have come into the world that the liberty was lost in all nations, that there is no more election, for which reason princes sell the offices of justice, and things are in confusion and it is a horror. And why has this come about but that when the people had the election in their hands, they abused it, and so were worthy that God should deprive them of the honor he had done them. For is it not as good as willfully provoking God’s wrath, and spiting him, when people having free election, who should choose men to serve God and to be his officers, instead make corrupt bargains in taverns, and even as it were in scorn and mockery of God, choose such as are most dissolute and out of bounds? Do you not see this is to pervert all order?

To be short, it should seem that we wish to expel God out of his seat when we set his enemies in it after that sort, and such as despise him, and such as seek nothing else but to tread his name and majesty under their feet. When this is how it is, is it any wonder that God sends such disorder into the world as we see? Now then, we could all the more stand to note well this doctrine, where it is said that when God gives a people liberty to elect officers, they must not abuse it, but must use discretion in choosing them. Yes, and for as much as we may often times be deceived, we must resort to God that he may give us prudence and govern us with his Holy Spirit, as though he had pointed out with his finger whom we ought to choose. And that is the cause why I said that elections shall never be well ordered except God preside over them by his Holy Spirit.

This article may be read in full at American Vision. . . .

 

Expressing Faith

Quoting President Ronald Reagan:

“Now, no one is suggesting that others should be forced into any religious activity, but to prevent those who believe in God from expressing their faith is an outrage. And the relentless drive to eliminate God from our schools can and should be stopped.”

Freedom and the Blood of Christ

Martin Luther, in the excerpt below, explains the necessity for the blood of Christ:

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:11-15 ESV)

Under the old law, which provided only for formal or ritualistic pardon, and restored to human fellowship, sin and transgressions remained, burdening the conscience. It–the old law–did not benefit the soul at all, inasmuch as God did not institute it to purify and safeguard the conscience, nor to bestow the Spirit. It existed merely for the purpose of outward discipline, restraint and correction. So Paul teaches that under the Old Testament dispensation man’s transgressions remained, but now Christ is our Mediator through his blood; by it our conscience, is freed from sin in the sight of God, inasmuch as God promises the Spirit through the blood of Christ. All, however, do not receive him. Only those called to be heirs eternal, the elect, receive the Spirit.

We find, then, in this excellent lesson, the comforting doctrine taught that Christ is he whom we should know as the Priest and Bishop of our souls; that no sin is forgiven, nor the Holy Spirit given, by reason of works or merit on our part, but alone through the blood of Christ, and that to those for whom God has ordained it. This matter has been sufficiently set forth in the various postils. (“Christ Our Great High Priest”)

All That Is Good Is But a Shadow of Christ

As a child in Sunday School, our class would often be led in the song; “He Has The Whole World In His Hands”. Little did I realize at that time how true those words were. Ralph Erskine reminds us of this great truth below:

“The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)

“Vanity of vanity, says the preacher, all is vanity,” Eccl. 1:2. All the riches, pleasures, profits, and preferments of the world are but emptiness; your wisdom, your parts, your children, your lands, your revenues, without Christ, can amount to nothing; they are but like zeros without a number. It is said of believers, 2 Cor. 6:10. Having nothing, they possess all things; because, though they had nothing in the world, yet, having Christ, they have all things; and on the other hand, it may be truly said of the wicked and unbelieving, that, having all things, they possess nothing; because, though they had all things in the world at their will, yet, being without Christ, they have nothing; all they have is but emptiness; yea, all they have is a curse, because they have not Christ. And thus all things, without him, are not only nothing, but worse than nothing.

Demonstration of this truth is, “If all things in the world be but a shadow of what is in Christ, then all things are in Christ’s hand substantially; but so it is, all good things in the world are but shadows of what is in Christ.” Outward riches are but a shadow of the unsearchable riches of Christ; outward life is but a shadow of him who is the way, the truth, and the life; outward liberty is but a shadow of that freedom that is to be had in Christ; If the Son make you free, then are you free indeed,” John 8:36 importing that no freedom is freedom indeed, and in truth, but this; outward rest is but a shadow of the rest that is to be had in him; “Come to me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The sun in the firmament is but a shadow of the Sun of righteousness, and of his glory; roses and lilies are but shadows of his beauty, who is the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valley; rivers and fountains are but shadows of his fullness, who is the fountain of living waters; not a fountain closed, but a fountain opened to us: plants and trees are but a shadow of the verdure of him who is the plant of renown, the tree of life. All things that have any excellency in them are but shadows of him in whom all excellencies do concentre [focus]. All the stars of creature-excellencies are but shadows of him who is the bright and morning Star. (“Heaven’s Grand Repository”)

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