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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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The Bible is the Best Gift of God

Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln:

“I am busily engaged in the study of the Bible. I believe it is God’s word because it finds me where I am.”

“I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good of the Savior of the world is communicated to us through the Book.”

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Overcoming Our Present Difficulty

Quoting :

“Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.”

Part VI: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

George Washington

At the age sixteen, George Washington wrote out by hand, 110 Rules of Civility. These are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. The rules have one major interest in common; a focus on other people and not on our own self-interests which is so prevalent today. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

61 Utter not base and frivolous things among grave and learned men, nor very difficult questions or subjects among the ignorant, or things hard to be believed; stuff not your discourse with sentences among your betters nor equals.

62 Speak not of doleful things in a time of mirth or at the table; speak not of melancholy things or death and wounds, and if others mention them, change if you can the discourse; tell not your dream, but to your intimate.

63 A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities [damaged manuscript] virtue or kindred.

64 Break not a jest where none take pleasure in mirth; laugh not alone, nor at all without occasion; deride no man’s misfortune though there seem to be some cause.

65 Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.

66 Be not forward but friendly and courteous,the first to salute, hear, and answer; and be not pensive when it’s a time to converse.

67 Detract not from others neither be excessive in commanding.

68 Go not thither, where you know not whether you shall be welcome or not; give not advice [without] being asked, and when desired do it briefly.

69 If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained, and be not obstinate in your own opinion; in things indifferent be of the major side.

70 Reprehend not the imperfections of others, for that belongs to parents, masters, and superiors.

 

Ronald Reagan’s 1985 Thanksgiving Proclamation

President Ronald Reagan

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1985

Proclamation 5412. November 15, 1985

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION

Although the time and date of the first American thanksgiving observance may be uncertain, there is no question but that this treasured custom derives from our Judeo-Christian heritage. Unto Three, O God, do we give thanks, the Psalmist sang, praising God not only for the wondrous works; of His creation, but for loving guidance and deliverance from dangers.

A band of settlers arriving in Maine in 1607 held a service of thanks for their safe journey, and twelve years later settlers in Virginia set aside a day of thanksgiving for their survival. In 1621 Governor William Bradford created the most famous of all such observances at Plymouth Colony when a bounteous harvest prompted him to proclaim a special day to render thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings. The Spaniards in California and the Dutch in New Amsterdam also held services to give public thanks to God.

In 1777, during our War of Independence, the Continental Congress set aside a day for thanksgiving and praise for our victory at the battle of Saratoga. It was the first time all the colonies took part in such an event on the same day.

The following year, upon news that France was coming to our aid, George Washington at Valley Forge prescribed a special day of thanksgiving. Later, as our first President, he responded to a Congressional petition by declaring Thursday, November 26, 1789, the first Thanksgiving Day of the United States of America.

Although there were many state and national thanksgiving days proclaimed in the ensuing years, it was the tireless crusade of one woman, Sarah Josepha Hale, that finally led to the establishment of this beautiful feast as an annual nationwide observance. Her editorials so touched the heart of Abraham Lincoln that in 1863 – even in the midst of the civil War – he enjoined his countrymen to be mindful of their many blessings, cautioning them not to forget the source from which they come that they are the gracious gifts of the Most High God… Who ought to be thanked with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

It is in that spirit that I now invite all Americans to take part again in this beautiful tradition with its roots deep in our history and deeper still in our hearts. We manifest our gratitude to God for the many blessings he has showered upon our land and upon its people.

In this season of Thanksgiving we are grateful for our abundant harvests and the productivity of our industries; for the discoveries of our laboratories; for the researches of our scientists and scholars; for the achievements of our artists, musicians, writers, clergy, teachers, physicians, businessmen, engineers, public servants, farmers, mechanics, artisans, and workers of every sort whose honest toil of mind and body in a free land rewards them and their families and enriches our entire Nation.

Let us thank God for our families, friends, and neighbors, and for the joy of this very festival we celebrate in His name. Let every house of worship in the land and every home and every heart be filled with the spirit of gratitude and praise and love on this Thanksgiving Day.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, in the spirit and tradition of the Pilgrims, the Continental Congress, and past Presidents, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 1985, as a day of national Thanksgiving. I call upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together in homes and places of worship and offer prayers of praise and gratitude for the many blessings almighty God has bestowed upon our beloved country.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and tenth.

RONALD REAGAN

“Stonewall” Jackson On Bravery

General "Stonewall" Jackson

Quoting General Stonewall Jackson:

“[M]y religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

The Birth Of The God/Man

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by [1] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1)

The Scriptures above tell us that there is no one like Jesus. The Son of God is far beyond everyone else. He is infinitely above any earthly hero in fact or in fiction. If we think that we can, somehow, take Christ out of Christmas – we might as well try to remove the stars from the night sky. John MacArthur, Jr comments on this topic:

It’s always a special joy for me, also, to come to the Christmas season and have the opportunity to focus on the simple and yet profound message of the birth of Christ. You know, it is an irony of rather significant proportions in America that we celebrate the birth of someone we refuse to acknowledge. . . .

Now the truth is nobody wants to stop the celebration, that’s not the idea, not the commercial world anyway, they want the money, not the government, they need the taxes that buying and selling and traveling produces and not the party goers, they want the fun. If we can just have the party without Jesus, everybody will be happy. . . .

Is Jesus someone less important than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln or Martin Luther King? Is Jesus someone about whom we shouldn’t be making so much fuss, and certainly not so much articulation of the character of His life and what He said and why He came? Is Jesus someone to be pushed into the background? Should we keep the party and get rid of the person whose party it is? Is He insignificant? Should people who want to proclaim Christ and sing His praises be silenced?

Well the Apostle Paul wants to help us to understand who Jesus is. And I want you to look in your Bible to Colossians chapter 1. Among all of the passages of Scripture that we might have looked at to see the reality of the child who was God, none is more grand than this one in the first chapter of Colossians. . . .

Every one of those statements that is made from verse 15 through verse 19 is absolutely exclusive. They are true of Him and nobody else. And the sum of them all is at the end of verse 18 where it says that He is to have the first-place in everything. No one else is the image of the invisible God, no one else can be the first-born of all creation. No one else can be the creator of things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. No one else sits over the thrones and dominions and rulers and authorities. No one else is before all things and held…and holds all things together. No one else is the head of the body, the church, the beginning, the first born. No one else has all the fullness dwelling in Him to the pleasure of the Father. Those are all absolutely exclusive statements. And what they tell us is that Jesus Christ is utterly unique. (“The Child Who Was God”)

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