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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 Military’s Anti-Christian Offensive

Anti Christian BigotryTony Perkins of the Family Research Council reports:

The … Pentagon may not have been responsible for blocking the Southern Baptist Convention website, but there’s no mistaking their involvement in the military’s latest anti-Christian offensive. (Emphasis on the word “offensive!”) In an absolute stunner, the Pentagon is meeting with Mikey Weinstein–a man who compared Christian evangelism to “rape”–to vet its new instructional guide on religious tolerance in the military.

Weinstein, who heads up the cross-crushing, prayer-prosecuting Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), is the same man who just published a blistering rant calling evangelicals “fundamentalist Christian monsters.” (And that’s the nice part!) “We must,” he writes, “vigorously support the continuing efforts to expose pathologically anti-gay, Islamophobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators for what they are: die-hard enemies of the United States Constitution. Monsters, one and all. To do any less would be to roll out a red carpet to those who would usher in a blood-drenched, draconian era of persecutions, nationalistic militarism, and superstitious theocracy.” . . .

Based on what we know of the document, which has yet to be distributed, the regulations have Weinstein’s fingerprints all over it. Among other things, the Washington Post explains, it threatens to treat service members caught witnessing as enemies of the state.

Continue reading here. . . .

A Healthy Marriage Culture

MarriageColumnist Ken Connelly:

“A healthy marriage culture helps the gold standard prevail, wherever possible, that children are raised by the parents who brought them into this world. … The Supreme Court itself has repeatedly noted that marriage and the family are necessary foundations of a free and properly functioning democratic republic. This is why the state, although it did not create marriage, has consistently supported and encouraged its flourishing. In contrast, until very recently, no government in human history has ever officially recognized same-sex relationships as marriages, precisely because they do not further society’s important interest in the natural procreation of the next generation of citizens. … The erosion of marriage and the breakdown of the family in America have unleashed social problems that are all too real and must be remedied. But the remedy will not come by accepting same-sex ‘marriage’ as valid, necessary, or constitutionally required. Marriage does not need redefinition, but re-dedication to its core meaning, the union of one man and one woman, and to its core purpose, uniting children to their own mother and father.”

Grote Industries granted an Injunction against the Federal Government’s Health Insurance

Grote IndustriesOn Jan. 30, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction against the federal government’s health insurance contraceptive mandate to Grote Industries, a Catholic-owned business, reversing a lower court’s ruling that earlier dismissed the business’ lawsuit.

Grote, which creates vehicle components, is a family-owned company based in Indiana. The company self-insures its 1,148 full-time employees, and the Grote family objects to the mandate’s required coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization.

Continue reading here. . . .

Women on the Front Lines of Combat

Celtic Woman Warrior by AndreThere is no doubt that in the history of warfare, women have certainly played a role in the frontline of combat many times. However, the rise of Western Civilization has mostly frowned upon the idea of women in combat. If we look to the Bible, we find Deborah (Judges 4:14) who on one occasion acted as a military adviser or even a general to an army of 10,000 men. The idea of women in combat, however, is a foreign concept to the teachings of the Bible.

There are many who have lobbied our government for years to place women in front line combat roles. “Equality” is often the generalized reason for pushing the concept forward. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last month that the military is going to remove its ban on women in combat. Is this something to celebrate or just another sign of moral decay? Michael Foust writes:

Panetta made his announcement Thursday (Jan. 24), saying the removal of the ban had unanimous approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. With the removal, about 237,000 positions on or near the front lines of combat are now open to women.

“If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation,” Panetta said.

You may read more here. . . .

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS NEW POLICY, AS A CHRISTIAN SPECIFICALLY?

Earthly Princes

JohnCalvinJohn Calvin:

“For earthly princes lay aside their power when they rise up against God; and are unworthy to be reckoned among the number of mankind. We ought, rather, to spit upon their heads than to obey them.” (Calvin’s Bible Commentary)

Election-Day Advice from John Calvin

The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s Sermons on Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 1:13), updated into modern English. The source of the following material is from American Vision. John Calvin writes:

Now we must also observe this saying of Moses: Choose ye men of wisdom and of good skill, men well-tried, that they may be set over you according to your tribes, even over thousands, over hundreds, and over fifties, as we shall see afterward. Hereby it is shown to us that when we have to elect men to hold public office, we must choose them with discretion and not take on the fly those who thrust themselves in first. Neither must they be taken for favor or for some vanity that appears good, but that God presides over the election and that such men may be selected as are known to be appropriate to exercise the estate to which they are called. And we must especially observe that which is rehearsed in Exodus 18 (as already mentioned): for there Jethro says that we must take men that are virtuous, fearing God, lovers of the truth, and haters of avarice. Who is he that speaks this? A poor pagan man, as I have said already. Yet God governs his tongue in such a way that we cannot have a better teacher than him when we are about to choose men to govern a people. First of all he requires men that are virtuous, such as are not effeminate, but have the capacity to be provided with such a charge, and have good zeal, courage, and magnanimity. . . .

Seeing then that such a lesson is told to us by a heathen man, I pray you what a shame shall it be that we which profess ourselves to be brought up in the law of God and in his Gospel, and have our ears so much beaten with it, should still be novices in the doctrine, or at least practice it so poorly among us? And yet for all that, if we do not use it to our profit, it is written to be kept to our great confusion and to make us inexcusable.

So then, let us weigh well this saying where Moses exhorts the people to choose men of understanding and wisdom, and proven men. For if we put a man in office upon nothing but hope, without good knowledge and experience of him, is it not a defiling of the seat of God and of justice? Indeed, God reserves to himself principality over all men, as he is also worthy to have, and yet notwithstanding he will be served by mortal men as by his ministers and officers. … Shall he that would not take a cowherd or a shepherd into his house upon bare hope, without knowledge or understanding of him what he is, shall he, I ask, go set a man in God’s seat, of whom he has no knowledge, and of whom he has no experience to judge what that man is? Now then, let us be well advised, when God gives this grace, or rather privilege, of electing men who govern (which is not common to all people), let us not abuse that gift of God in any way, or else we shall be amazed to see ourselves bereft thereof. And behold the reason why so many tyrannies have come into the world that the liberty was lost in all nations, that there is no more election, for which reason princes sell the offices of justice, and things are in confusion and it is a horror. And why has this come about but that when the people had the election in their hands, they abused it, and so were worthy that God should deprive them of the honor he had done them. For is it not as good as willfully provoking God’s wrath, and spiting him, when people having free election, who should choose men to serve God and to be his officers, instead make corrupt bargains in taverns, and even as it were in scorn and mockery of God, choose such as are most dissolute and out of bounds? Do you not see this is to pervert all order?

To be short, it should seem that we wish to expel God out of his seat when we set his enemies in it after that sort, and such as despise him, and such as seek nothing else but to tread his name and majesty under their feet. When this is how it is, is it any wonder that God sends such disorder into the world as we see? Now then, we could all the more stand to note well this doctrine, where it is said that when God gives a people liberty to elect officers, they must not abuse it, but must use discretion in choosing them. Yes, and for as much as we may often times be deceived, we must resort to God that he may give us prudence and govern us with his Holy Spirit, as though he had pointed out with his finger whom we ought to choose. And that is the cause why I said that elections shall never be well ordered except God preside over them by his Holy Spirit.

This article may be read in full at American Vision. . . .

 

God Governs in the Affairs of Men

According to Benjamin Franklin:

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? 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?” (Words spoken to Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention)

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.”

God gave us Life and Liberty

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President, Drafter and Signer of the Declaration of Independence:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; that a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.” (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, p. 237)

Christianity and American Independence

John Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson:

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

Listen to Jesus Christ

Only God endures and is the unchanging God. The God who spoke to men of old is the God of the ages, the God whose history runs through the Bible and who has been guiding it since the beginning. It is truly His Word. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones urges us to listen to the words of Jesus Christ:

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)

Very well, there is the great negative message of the Bible, that man will never succeed in building a durable and a lasting and a solid kingdom. These things can all be shaken as we are witnessing it and worse is going to happen. There is one kingdom that cannot be moved, that cannot be shaken. ‘Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace’. What is this? Here we are now in our proper world. We know not what tomorrow may bring forth. What are we to do? Is there any message? Is there anything that comes anywhere to give me some understanding and a word of hope? There is. What is it, what can I bank on tonight? What should I listen to and hold on to when everything is collapsing round and about me?

This man says, it is a word, ‘this word. Yet once more, He has already said: ‘See that ye refuse not him that speaketh’ [Hebrews 12:25]. This man’s message is this, that amidst the babel of voices in our world, there is another word – and the essence of wisdom is to listen to this word. It is the word that was spoken by Jesus Christ and which made him say: ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away’ [Matthew 24:35]. Or which the Apostle Peter quoted in these words, it is the same thing but in the graphic manner of the Apostle Peter. He tells these Christians that they have become Christians ‘by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever’ [I Peter 1:23]. Then listen: ‘For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man’ – British Empire and every other glory – ‘all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away: But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you’ [I Peter 1:24-25]. It is the word I am preaching to you now, it is the word my friend is going to preach, the word, this word.

What is it? Why is this word durable? Why is this word better than the word of the philosophers, the scientists, the politicians, the sociologists, and the educationalist? Why is this the only word I should listen to? The answer is, it is the word of the Lord; it is the word of God. My dear friends, are you not tired of the words of men? (“A Kingdom which cannot be Shaken”)

The Enemy of Salvation

In the words of Benjamin Rush:

The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of limiting Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools.

Freedom of Religion

Quoting Patrick Henry (Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution)

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” (The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii)

God is Just

Quoting Thomas Jefferson, 1871:

“I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Tyranny Over The Mind

Quoting Thomas Jefferson:

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

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