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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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PATIENCE

And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:15 ESV)

The Scriptures tell us that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22 ESV) Paul writes that patience is a quality that we should put on. (Colossians 3:12 ESV) Patience is an important characteristic of the Christian life. It requires submission to God’s Word and Will. We are like clay and He is our Potter. We are the work of His hands. (Isaiah 64:8 ESV) Impatience opposes God’s work in us. Our obsession with getting results quickly – often leads us to take shortcuts that actually inhibit spiritual growth.  On the other hand, godly patience encourages spiritual growth as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises.

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WHAT IS MY NEXT STEP IN LIFE?

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

providenceHave you ever wondered what the next step in your life should be? Should I get married? Should we have children? Should I take just any job to get by since I’m unemployed? Should I start looking for a new job because I’m dissatisfied with the one I have now? What should be my major in college? I’m unhappy in my marriage; should I divorce? Should we spend Christmas at her parents or mine?

Christian – whatever your next step is, it should honor and glorify God. As a matter of fact, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV) God desires to be the highest priority in our lives. Sometimes we become frustrated because we haven’t heard what we want to hear from God. Our prayers for guidance seem to go unanswered. In many areas, His will for us may belong to the secret things of God. We must learn to trust in God’s providential care. If God’s glory is the greatest purpose of our lives, then we will be useful servants to Him. Trust God, acknowledge His Word, seek His Wisdom, and His Sovereignty by obeying Him and being thankful for His providential care. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV) Continue reading

A BLESSED NATION

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! (Psalm 33:12 ESV)

George WashingtonThe blessing and protection of Heaven are at all times necessary but especially so in times of public distress and danger. The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier, defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country. (George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, Vol. 5, p. 245, July 9, 1776 Order)

While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian. (George Washington, The Writings of Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor, Vol. XI, pp. 342-343, General Orders of May 2, 1778)

“It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful, to contemplate, that after two years’ maneuvering and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes that ever attended any one contest since the creation, both armies are brought back to the very point they set out from, and that the offending party at the beginning is now reduced to the use of the Holy Bible and American Flagspade and pickaxe for defense. The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. I shall add no more on the doctrine of Providence.” (George Washington, Letter to General Nelson, of Virginia, in August, 1778: The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, 1863)

 

“Sinned as we have as a nation, yet to our sin we have added pride in our sinning. The world has lost the power to blush over its vice; the church has lost her power to weep over it.” (Leonard Ravenhill)

SWITCHBACK

John PiperJohn Piper:

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” (A Sweet and Bitter Providence: Sex, Race, and the Sovereignty of God)

GOD’S PROVIDENCE

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner D.D.:

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature.  “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point.  God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He were only in one place, and had but one object of attention.”  And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do.  The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.” (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL CONTROL

Loraine BoettnerLoraine Boettner:

Throughout the Bible, the laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attrib­uted to God’s providential control.  All things, both in heaven and earth, from the seraphim down to the tiny atom, are ordered by His never-failing providence.  So intimate is His relationship with the whole creation that a careless reader might be led toward pantheistic conclusions.  Yet individual personalities and second causes are fully recog­nized,—not as independent of God, but as having their proper place in His plan.  And alongside of this doctrine of His Immanence, the Scripture writers also present the kindred doctrine of His Transcendence, in which God is distinctly set forth as entirely separate from and above the whole creation. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

GOD’S WORKS OF PROVIDENCE

Loraine Boettner in 1917 at the age of 16:

“God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his crea­tures and all their actions.”  (Shorter Catechism, answer to Question 11.)  The Scriptures very clearly teach that all things outside of God owe not merely their original creation, but their continued existence, with all their properties and powers, to the will of God.  He upholds all things by the word of His power, Heb. 1:3. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist, Col. 1:17.  “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all,” Neh. 9:6.  “In Him we live, and move and have our being,” Acts 17:28.  He is “over all, and through all, and in all,” Eph. 4:6. (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

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