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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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CONSCIENCE

ConscienceAnd looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” (Acts 23:1 ESV)

Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. (Hebrews 13:18 ESV)

According to Dictionary.com, “conscience” is “the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action: to follow the dictates of conscience.”

For the Christian, our God-given conscience is an inner awareness that bears witness to the Biblical values we embrace when deciding what is right or wrong. The conscience serves as a witness to what we already know about right and wrong. Our conscience, to work properly, must always be informed by what God has said.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to form our conscience as best we can with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is an important part of our progressive sanctification. When you become a Christian, your sense of conscience is heightened. This is because it is being informed both by Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit.  This is a lifelong process. We experience guilt when we have a well-formed sense of conscience. Continue reading

Christ’s Birthday

Benjamin FranklinBenjamin Franklin:

How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.

Benjamin Franklin On Christmas

Quoting Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richards Almanac, 1743:

“How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.”

John Hancock: Resistance To Tyranny

John Hancock

Quoting John Hancock – 1st Signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual. … Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.” (History of the United States of America, Vol. II, p. 229)

Benjamin Rush On National Crimes That Will Require National Punishment

Quoting Benjamin Rush (Signer of the Declaration of Independence):

Remember that national crimes require national punishments, and without declaring what punishment awaits this evil, you may venture to assure them that it cannot pass with impunity, unless God shall cease to be just or merciful. (Source: Benjamin Rush, An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America Upon Slave-Keeping (Boston: John Boyles, 1773), p. 30.)

Let Us Not Labor In Vain!

Benjamin Franklin

Quoting Benjamin Franklin (Signer of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence):

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. 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, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service. (Source: James Madison, The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, Max Farrand, editor (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 450-452, June 28, 1787.)

Only A Virtuous People Will Maintain Freedom

Benjamin Franklin

Quoting Benjamin Franklin (Signer of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence):

[O]nly a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. (Source: Benjamin Franklin, The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, Jared Sparks, editor (Boston: Tappan, Whittemore and Mason, 1840), Vol. X, p. 297, April 17, 1787.)

The Gadsden Flag Should Be The New Symbol Of US Foreign Policy

The bold letters of the Gadsden Flag have become the slogan of America’s 21st century Tea Party movement and a symbol of the unique American spirit. Most resurgent patriots intuitively grasp the essence of American exceptionalism, but not all understand what it means for U.S. foreign policy.

The distinct yellow flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden who led the Sons of Liberty in South Carolina prior to the American Revolution. . . .

The sentiment of the Gadsden Flag can be traced to the founding of the United States, as can its implications for American statecraft. Among these are a strong military, a foreign policy that is unencumbered by international institutions which undermine its political independence, and a diplomacy that reflects America’s political principles.

Continue reading. . . .

When The Constitution Becomes Meaningless

Thomas Sowell

From the pen of the senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust, Thomas Sowell:

How did we get to the point where many people feel that the America they have known is being replaced by a very different kind of country, with not only different kinds of policies but very different values and ways of governing?

Something of this magnitude does not happen all at once or in just one administration in Washington. What we are seeing is the culmination of many trends in many aspects of American life that go back for years.

Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the institutions set up by that Constitution are enough to ensure the continuance of a free, self-governing nation. When Benjamin Franklin was asked what members of the Constitution Convention were creating, he replied, “A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

In other words, a Constitutional government does not depend on the Constitution but on us. To the extent that we allow clever people to circumvent the Constitution, while dazzling us with rhetoric, the Constitution will become just a meaningless piece of paper, as our freedoms are stolen from us, much as a pick-pocket would steal our wallet while we are distracted by other things.

Continue reading. . . .

Thomas Jefferson On The Welfare State

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

What Is Thrift?

From: The Desk of Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

The path out of the failed debt culture will not be fast or easy, but its main direction is clear. It points toward the greater freedom and security rooted in the value and practice of thrift.

Thrift is one of the oldest and most durable American values but its reputation has suffered during the decades of a debt culture. For many people today, thrift carries the musty odor of the attic and the canning cellar. Some hear the word “thrift” and think of the painful Depression Era privation of their parents and grandparents. Others think of tight-fisted stinginess and joyless self-denial. Still others believe that the practice of thrift is destructive of the economy itself. Thrift, properly understood, is none of these things.

Here’s what thrift is: First, thrift is rooted in a broad social philosophy of human flourishing. It unites two classic themes in American life: self-help and mutual aid. Thrift says that everyone who can master the habit of thrift can save. At the same time, thrift rejects the radically individualistic notion of “do-it-by-yourself.” It holds that people can be thriftier together than they can be on their own. Thus, thrift encourages an institutional culture based on cooperation, associational bonds, and mutual aid. For three centuries, thrift has been the animating value behind mutual savings banks, buying cooperatives, public libraries, community gardens, environmental movements, faith-based credit unions and philanthropic thrift shops.

Second, thrift is generous. Yes, thrift says we should save more but it rejects the idea of hoarding or scrimping for its own sake. Indeed, thrift sees greedy acquisitiveness as a form of idolatry. Thrift is about taking care of our material and natural resources so that there will be enough left to enrich the lives of future generations.

Finally, thrift is a source of pleasure. The practice of thrift leads to an abundance of good things to savor in life. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Wealth is not his who has it but his who enjoys it.” In addition, thrift liberates us from the anxiety of over-indebtedness, the competition of keeping up with the Joneses, and the envy of others’ good fortune. Thrift makes us grateful for what we have achieved on our own, and what has been given to us from others. And last of all, thrift says that it is more fun to give than to get.

Read the entire article here. . . .

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