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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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WHAT IS MY NEXT STEP IN LIFE?

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

providenceHave you ever wondered what the next step in your life should be? Should I get married? Should we have children? Should I take just any job to get by since I’m unemployed? Should I start looking for a new job because I’m dissatisfied with the one I have now? What should be my major in college? I’m unhappy in my marriage; should I divorce? Should we spend Christmas at her parents or mine?

Christian – whatever your next step is, it should honor and glorify God. As a matter of fact, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV) God desires to be the highest priority in our lives. Sometimes we become frustrated because we haven’t heard what we want to hear from God. Our prayers for guidance seem to go unanswered. In many areas, His will for us may belong to the secret things of God. We must learn to trust in God’s providential care. If God’s glory is the greatest purpose of our lives, then we will be useful servants to Him. Trust God, acknowledge His Word, seek His Wisdom, and His Sovereignty by obeying Him and being thankful for His providential care. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV) Continue reading

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IDOLATRY

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

Samuel A CainHuman nature frequently leads people to try to change God and His worship into something that is more pleasing to them. Man’s chief end – “to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever” (The Westminster Shorter Catechism) – is often neglected simply for the pursuit of personal joy.

Idolatry is very appealing. Our culture actually encourages self-worship. There are “cultural Christians” who believe they can use their faith to manipulate God for their own worldly prosperity. They worship the gift not the Giver. Many in our congregations can barely sit still for 30 minutes unless they are hearing a sermon titled “Five Steps to Success” or “Seven Steps to What You Really Want”. Others run to the church that entertains them the most. They say they are there because of the worship. However, they do not include hearing God’s Word preached in their definition of “worship”. They attend because they are entertained – thus, diminishing worship to idolatry. Continue reading

REAL CHRISTIANITY

MaterialismSomeone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21 ESV)

According to Francis Schaeffer: “Christianity is not just a mental assent that certain doctrines are true — not even that the right doctrines are true. This is only the beginning. This would be rather like a starving man sitting in front of great heaps of food and saying, ‘I believe the food exists; I believe it is real,’ and yet never eating it. It is not enough merely to say, ‘I am a Christian,’ and then in practice to live as if present contact with the supernatural were something far off and strange. Many Christians I know seem to act as though they come in contact with the supernatural just twice — once when they are justified and become a Christian and once when they die.” Continue reading

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