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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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MEDICINE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18 ESV)

Have you ever suffered from a broken heart? Most people have on some occasion in their lives. Perhaps it occurred after the death of a family member; perhaps it was a divorce; maybe a devastating illness; or the loss of a job. A broken heart may happen because you were denied entrance into the university you had hoped to attend, or because someone you thought was your best friend has begun to ignore you in favor of a new friend. A broken heart may be simple or complex in its cause. None of us are exempt from suffering its effects. It may give us a feeling of hopelessness. Solomon wrote:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, (Proverbs 13:12 ESV)

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THOUGHTS FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Psalm 25:7 ESV)

Physical beauty is fleeting. Physical strength is used up by time. Even the mind of a genius is slowed by age. Yet, in our youth we often carry a false sense of immortality in which we view ourselves as invincible. We demonstrate this by magical thinking (i.e. self-absorbing daydreams & fantasies) and through foolish actions that may injure us or change our lives for the worse in years to come. We blind ourselves to inevitable consequences for a few moments of pleasure. We too quickly reject the traditional beliefs of our parents and the church without really trying to understand them. We reject anything that is not popular or the current fad. Our lives are consumed by sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, jealousy, envy, strife, and drunkenness, which prevent our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV) If we ever, over the years, learn the truth of these matters, the majority of our lives may have passed us by. Perhaps this is best illustrated by the Chinese proverb: “Too soon old; Too late wise.”

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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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AMUSING OURSELVES

J. R. Miller:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

J. R. Miller

J. R. Miller

Amusements are proper, both as to kind and degree—just so far as they make us better Christians. Whenever they become hindrances to us in our Christian living or in our holy walk – they are harmful, however innocent they may be in themselves.

How do your amusements influence your spiritual life? They may be very pleasing to you. They may afford great gratification. But what is their effect on you, as a Christian? Are they hindering your love for Christ, and your growth in grace? We ought to be honest enough with ourselves, to answer these questions truthfully, and then act accordingly. (“In Green Pastures”)

HAPPINESS IN CHRIST

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

“The happiness promised us in Christ does not consist in outward advantages–such as leading a joyous and peaceful life, having rich possessions, being safe from all harm, and abounding with delights such as the flesh commonly longs after. No, our happiness belongs to the heavenly life!”(Institutes , 2, 15, 4).

THE HANDBOOK FOR LIFE

Michael HortonMichael Horton:

To preach the Bible as ‘the handbook for life,’ or as the answer to every question, rather than as the revelation of Christ, is to turn the Bible into an entirely different book. This is how the Pharisees approached Scripture, as we can see clearly from the questions they asked Jesus. For the Pharisees, the Scriptures were a source of trivia for life’s dilemmas. 

SLOUCHING AWAY FROM HOLINESS

D.A. Carson:

“People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”

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