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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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  • Recommended Reading

Ignorance of the Scriptures

Sir Ambrose FlemmingSir Ambrose Flemming, British electrical engineer and inventor:

“Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

Danger

John Calvin:

“Men are undoubtedly more in danger from prosperity than from adversity. For when matters go smoothly, they flatter themselves, and are intoxicated by their success.”

God’s Gifts

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

“God [gave] mankind virtually unlimited gifts to invent, produce and create. And for that reason alone, it would be wrong for governments to devise a tax structure or economic system that suppresses and denies those gifts.”

Marriage Trends

Quoting Heritage Foundation‘s Rachel Sheffield:

“New government data reveals a continuing trend of declining marriage rates. More women have never been married, and cohabitation rates have increased steadily. And more children are born outside of marriage than ever before. The consequences of these trends include lower economic prosperity for families and an array of poorer outcomes for children. Tragically, as marriage declines, even the very physical safety for women and children is compromised. … The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that never-married women are over four times as likely to be a victim of domestic violence compared to married women. … Additionally, children living outside of married, biological-parent homes have a far greater probability of experiencing physical and sexual abuse. Most notably, children living with a single parent and the parent’s romantic partner are approximately 10 times as likely to be physically abused and 20 times as likely to be sexually abused. Even children living with both biological parents are at heightened risk of physical abuse (over four times as likely) and sexual abuse (nearly five times as likely) if their parents are not married. As marriage rates decline, more women and children are exposed to living situations that jeopardize their safety. As policymakers look to ways to address violence against women, rather than expanding top-down approaches of questionable effectiveness, efforts to promote and strengthen marriage are critical.”

Read more. . . .

Cain and Able Were Brothers

No man believed so firmly in the philosophy of development and progress than H G Wells, the novelist. Wells was a scientific humanist who believed that the advance of knowledge, culture, and science would create an earthly paradise. When the Second World War broke out, he wrote his last book with this very significant title, Mind at the End of Its Tether. He simply did not understand what he considered to be the failure of human progress. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones explains:

This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:27-29 ESV)

I need not tell you that we are meeting together tonight in a time of great confusion, a time of grave and terrible crisis. Everybody is aware of this; you cannot read a paper, you cannot listen to a news bulletin without hearing of some added crisis, some new problem, and some fresh tragedy. The world is in an alarming state and condition. We are truly in an age of exceptional crisis. But I want to put to you that we are not only in a time and age of crisis, we are living in a time when all of us are being tested, and all of us have been sifted and examined and proved. What I mean by that is this, that the state of the world tonight is testing the outlook, the point of view, of every one of us who is in this congregation. Indeed of everybody that is in the world. Everybody has got some view of life, even the most thoughtless people, people who scarcely ever think at all, they have got a kind of philosophy and their philosophy is not to think. What is the use of thinking?’ they say. So they have got their point of view, their point of view is ‘Let us eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’. So I am saying that everybody’s point of view, everybody’s attitude towards life, is on trial at the moment. . . .

So I put that as my first question: Are you surprised at the fact that the world is as it is at this very moment? Or, let me phrase that in a slightly different way: Are you disappointed that the world is as it is? Not only surprised but disappointed, because again there are many people in the world who are grievously disappointed at the present state of affairs. And they are disappointed for this reason, that having adopted the kind of idealistic philosophy, or view of life, which was very popular in the last century – you know that idea that believed in evolution, or progress and development, the view which said that as the result of popular education which came in 1870 and all the marvelous scientific advances and discoveries, more travel, ability to mix with other nations – they were very confident that the twentieth century was going to be the golden century, the crowning century of all the centuries! Did not Tennyson write about the coming of the parliament of men and the federation of the world, of the days when men would beat their swords into ploughshares and war would be no more? War, we were told – and they taught this, not only the poets but the philosophers and the politicians – war, they said, was due to the fact that people did not know one another. . . . They had forgotten, you see, that Cain and Abel were brothers. . . . (“A Kingdom Which Cannot Be Shaken”)

Seeking Wealth To Find Happiness

In the article below, Robert G. Lee (1886-1974) reminds us that the journey to achieve great wealth may not yield the results we hope for:

He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. (Ecclesiastes 5:10-15 ESV)

In these striking words we see that [Solomon] found the path of riches a disappointing path also. Finding bitterness in the path of wine, finding no peace in human wisdom alone, he turned to the path of riches, hoping therein to find the joy and the peace the human heart needs.

See how rich he was.

  • “Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold.” (I Kings 10:14)
  • “And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold, six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. And he made three hundred shields, of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield; and the, king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.” (I Kings 10:16,17)
  • “For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.” (I Kings 10:22)
  • “And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen; and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem.” (I Kings 10:26)
  • “So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.” (I Kings 10:23)

Yes, gifts poured into his coffers in a continuous stream so that he was able to hire men singers and women singers able to build himself and his wives gorgeous palaces able to enjoy all that money could provide. He was able at any time to pay a king’s ransom for a day of pleasure. He had riches till the end of his life. He never knew the pinch of poverty; never knew any anxiety about his daily bread. Yet, even in the security of his nest of wealth, he fully realized the futility of their values. “Vanity of vanities ! “

No man can buy a contented heart.

Money is powerless to furnish this. No man can purchase with riches a soul at peace with God. No man can pay in money the price of the hope of immortality and of a meeting in the Great Beyond. No man can find in riches the purchase price of God’s favor or the realization of eternal salvation.

Not even in this day does money guarantee health, or hold friends, or bring contentment! (“Paths of Disappointment”)

Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4-5 ESV)

Athens And Jerusalem

Dinesh D'Souza

From the pen of Dinesh D’Souza:

The West was built on two pillars: Athens and Jerusalem. By Athens I mean classical civilization, the civilization of Greece and pre-Christian Rome. By Jerusalem I mean Judaism and Christianity. Of these two, Jerusalem is more important. The Athens we know and love is not Athens as it really was, but rather Athens as seen through the eyes of Jerusalem.

Slowly and surely, Christianity took the backward continent after the fall of the Roman Empire and gave it learning and order, stability and dignity. The monks copied and studied the manuscripts that preserved the learning of late antiquity. Christopher Dawson shows in Religion and the Rise of Western Culture how the monasteries became the locus of productivity and learning throughout Europe. Where there was once wasteland they produced hamlets, then towns, and eventually commonwealths and cities. Through the years the savage barbarian warrior became a chivalric Christian knight, and new ideals of civility and manners and romance were formed that shape our society to this day. If Christianity had not been born out of Judaism, Rodney Stark writes, we might still be living in the Dark Ages. (“Adrift”)

Read the entire article at. . . .

The Long Term Effects Of Secularism

Quoting Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse:

We cannot sustain ourselves economically because the Western democracies are committing financial suicide with federal spending and entitlement programs that they then push off onto future generations instead of paying today.

We in the democratic West are also committing demographic suicide by having so few children that we are not replacing ourselves, therefore reducing the size of the future generations we hope will pay our bills.

And let’s not even consider the problem of multiculturalism, which teaches that our own civilization is no better and probably worse than any other. This ideology robs us of the confidence to instill our core values in the next generation.

By contrast, the Christian version of Western civilization had no trouble sustaining itself in each of these areas. It is an open question whether exclusive secularism can sustain itself.

Read “Drowning in Red Ink” at tothesource. . . .

Noah Webster On The Basis Of Our Civil Constitutions

Noah Webster

Quoting Noah Webster (Founding Educator):

The most perfect maxims and examples for regulating your social conduct and domestic economy, as well as the best rules of morality and religion, are to be found in the Bible. . . . The moral principles and precepts found in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. These principles and precepts have truth, immutable truth, for their foundation. . . . All the evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible. . . . For instruction then in social, religious and civil duties resort to the scriptures for the best precepts. (Source: Noah Webster, History of the United States, “Advice to the Young” (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), pp. 338-340, par. 51, 53, 56.)

Only A Step From Tyranny. . . .

John Paul Jones

An article in Canada Free Press by Kelly O’Connell recently caught my attention. O’Connell’s article is titled “What is Liberty, That We May Defend It?” Kelly O’Connell is an author and attorney. Born on the West Coast and raised in Las Vegas, he matriculated from the University of Oregon. He labored for the Reformed Church in Galway, Ireland until he returned to America and attended law school in Virginia. While there, he earned a JD and a Master’s degree in Government.

According to O’Connell, our government is not only misleading us; it is “making foolhardy economic decisions, then treating citizens alarmed at record deficits like madmen.” Our rights are being violated and the Constitution is ignored or treated like a joke. America’s political class is only interested in being re-elected to the “gravy train” by betraying the people who elected them. Is our liberty in danger? O’Connell writes:

America’s greatness is being worn away like a mighty boulder turned to sand by a thousand dripping streams. America was made great by its ideas, fleshed out in the Declaration and Constitution, which created a powerful Republic based on Natural Law and Natural Rights. Yet, we currently stand at the precipice of a socialist devolution, a mere democracy of the misinformed, fearful and conquered.

Areas of American life coming under threat of tyranny are too numerous to detail, but include free speech, religion, separation of powers, government spending, foreign policy, private property, etc. . . .

According to Ellis Sandoz, in A Government of Laws, Political Theory, Religion, and the American Founding, the Founders believed Liberty is premised upon a few irreplaceable things. One is Rule of Law. Another is limited government, established through the Founder’s Constitution, based on Natural Law and Natural Rights. Of course, the strength of America expressed in capitalist Liberty made possible individual prosperity, which fostered our aiding the world, and building ourselves into an impregnable, free land—as the Founders hoped it would. Finally, the Founders believed free people needed to remain virtuous to avoid a proliferation of laws, degrading into tyranny. This virtue was premised upon the Bible’s standards and Christian religion as a foundation for morality.

John Stuart Mill wrote On Liberty, stating the principal: “over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” Mill also expressed the Harm Principle—that everyone has a right to do anything they like as long as it harms no one else. Mill encapsulates a standard that even the simple, young or agnostic can understand—that Liberty must be defended, and expanded, while government is shrunk, if we are to remain a free and prosperous people.

Please consider reading the entire article by Kelly O’Connell here. . . .

Emerson On Opportunity

Quoting American essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882):

 

“America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine Providence in behalf of the human race.”

The Life Of A Christian

Richard Sibbes

Quoting Richard Sibbes:

The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises and thanks to God; we should neither eat nor sleep, but eat to God and sleep to God and work to God and talk to God, do all to His glory and praise.

Patrick Henry: The Voice Of A Patriot!

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

Patrick Henry

March 23, 1775

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free–if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I

Patrick Henry

repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace–but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! (Excerpt from original speech)

Truth Redefined

Kelly O’Connell is an author, attorney, and radio show host. In his article “Who Defines ‘Truth’ When Politicians Re-Write the Dictionary?” he points out three areas of American life – Education, Church, and Political Correctness – where the false has been declared true:

The very notion of truth itself has been tied, stretched out and crucified for political advantage in America. This is why we are in a dreary swamp, a national malaise. Our current struggles are all the more remarkable considering most result from wrong ideas. A simple attitude adjustment, ie a “reality check”—would eliminate most of our seemingly permanent issues fairly quickly. Our troubles occur because disreputable political doctrines are raised over common sense. For example, huge deficits undermine America’s ability to continue its military and humanitarian roles, home and abroad. And yet, the notion of serious spending cuts is regarded by liberals as more horrible than an offer to barbecue holy cows in downtown Bombay.

The problem in America today is our “official” national narrative is based upon a torrent of false, leftist ideas, directed by political theory towards relentless failure on every front. In other words, the elites uphold the tenets of Marxism. A key example is Political Correctness. This devilish doctrine claims no action is bad, in itself—as long as fostered by an ideologically acceptable group. . . .

Continue reading this article. . . .

George Washington On The Public Debt

Philadelphia - Old City: Second Bank Portrait ...

George Washington

Quoting George Washington:

“No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.”

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