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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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HOPE

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4 ESV)

Reading The BibleSeek for His Wisdom and you will also find hope for the future.

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TRUST IN HIM WHOLLY

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“What is it to believe in Him? It is not merely to say ‘He is God and the Savior’, but to trust in Him wholly and entirely and take Him for all your salvation from this time forth and forever as your Lord, your Master, your all.” (All of Grace, 32)

LONG FOR THE GIVER NOT HIS GIFTS

Wire Rim Glasses ca. 2002David Powlison:

“We are meant to long supremely for the Lord himself, for the Giver, not his gifts.  The absence of blessings – rejection, vanity, reviling, illness, poverty – often is the crucible in which we learn to love God for who he is.  In our idolatry we make gifts out to be supreme goods, and make the Giver into the errand boy of our desires.” (Seeing with New Eyes, 134-135)

My Hope is Strong in Him

In the words of St. Augustine:

“How much Thou hast loved us, O good Father, Who hast spared not even Thine own son but delivered him up for us wicked people. How thou hast loved us, for whom He who thought it not robbery to be equal with Thee became obedient even unto the death of the cross, He who alone was free among the dead, having power to lay down his life and power to take it up again, for us he was to Thee both Victor and Victim. For us he was to Thee both Priest and Sacrifice, turning us from slaves into Thy sons being Thy Son and becoming a slave. Rightly is my hope strong in Him.”

Knowing You have a Saving Interest in Christ

Knowing that you are saved in Christ is a matter of the highest importance. Yet many ignore this subject while others foolishly think they have assurance without any solid ground. There are few walking the narrow way. Certainly people should be more serious about this matter since they may deceive themselves. William Guthrie (1620-1665) writes:

Since there are so many people living under the ordinances, pretending, without ground, to a special interest in Christ, and to His favor and salvation, as is clear from the words of our Lord–‘Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name have cast out devils, and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’ (Matt. 7: 22, 23). ‘Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.’ (Matt. 25: 11, 12.) ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ (Luke 13: 24.) And since many who have good ground of claim to Christ, are not established in the confidence of this favor, but remain in the dark, without comfort, hesitating concerning the reality of godliness in themselves, and speaking little in the commendation of religion to others. . . .

[N]ot only may a godly man come to the sure knowledge of his gracious state, but it is more easily attainable than many apprehend. . . A godly man may argue thus, Whosoever receive Christ are justly reputed the children of God-‘But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God’ (John 1 12); but I have received Christ in all the ways which the word there can import: for I am pleased with the device of salvation by Christ, I agree to the terms, I welcome the offer of Christ in all His offices, as a King to rule over me, a Priest to offer sacrifice and intercede for me, a Prophet to teach me; I lay out my heart for Him and towards Him, resting on Him as I am able. What else can be meant by the word “receiving”? Therefore may I say, and conclude plainly and warrantably, I am justly to reckon myself God’s child, according to the aforesaid scripture, which cannot fail. (The Christian’s Great Interest)

The Evil of Murmuring and Complaining

God’s people should comfort themselves in whatever befalls them, by resting quietly and submissively in the bosom of God. Consider that whatever comes to pass proceeds from the decree of their gracious Creator and loving Father. Only He knows what is best for them and will make all things work together for their good. Thomas Boston says:

Whoever may be the instruments of any good to us, of whatever sort, we must look above them, and see the hand and counsel of God in it, which is their first source, and be duly thankful to God for it. And whatever evil of suffering or afflictions befall us, we must look above the instruments of it to God. . . . We should be patient under whatever distress comes upon us, considering that God is on our side. Job 2:10 “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” This would be a happy means to quiet our complaining at adverse dispensations. Hence David says, “I was mute, I did not open my mouth, because it was you who did it.” Psalm 39:9

See here the evil of murmuring and complaining at our lot in the world. How apt are you to quarrel with God, as if he were in the wrong to you, when his dealings with you are not according to your own desires and wishes? You demand a reason, and call God to an account, Why did this happen to me? Why am I so much afflicted and distressed? Why am I so long afflicted? And why such an affliction rather than another? Why am I so poor and another so rich? Thus your hearts rise up against God. But you should remember that this is to defame the counsels of infinite wisdom, as if God had not ordered your affairs wisely enough in his eternal counsel. We find the Lord reproving Job for this, chap. 40:2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?” When you murmur and brood under cross and afflictive dispensations, this is a presuming to instruct God how to deal with you, and to reprove him as if he were in the wrong. Indeed, there is a kind of implicit blasphemy in it, as if you had more wisdom and justice to arrange your circumstances, and to carve out your own portion in the world. This is what you really mean when you say, “If I had been on God’s counsel, I would have ordered this matter better; things would not be with me as they are now.” Oh presume not to correct the infinite wisdom of God, seeing he has decreed all things most wisely and judiciously. (“Important Lessons Drawn from the Decrees of God”)

A Praying Heart

 

 

 

 

According to Bishop J. C. Ryle:

A right heart is a PRAYING heart. It has within it “the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father” (Rom. 8:15). Its daily feeling is, “Your face, Lord, will I seek” (Psalm 27:8). It is drawn by an habitual inclination to speak to God about spiritual things—weakly, feebly, and imperfectly perhaps—but speak it must. It finds it necessary to pour out itself before God, as before a friend, and to spread before Him all its needs and desires. It tells Him all its secrets. It keeps back nothing from Him. You might as well try to persuade a person to live without breathing, as to persuade the possessor of a right heart to live without praying.

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