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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 SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM THE BIBLE?

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Many of us read the Bible with the purpose of knowing it better. Often, however, we read the Bible without allowing it to change our lives. We may scan the Scriptures daily looking for some reinforcement of our own “core values” but without allowing the Scriptures to speak to us personally about sin and righteousness.

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PRAYER AND THE WORD OF GOD

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7 ESV)

Evening PrayerPraying is difficult for many people. Some don’t think about it because they lead such busy lives. It is certainly not #1 on their “To-Do List”. Francis de Sales wrote:

Every Christian needs a half-hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy, then he needs an hour.

Martin Luther said on this subject:

I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.

The Apostle Paul reminds us that it is God’s Will that we should pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:1 ESV) Prayer leads to greater intimacy with God. Prayer changes things and my personal experience has been that God changes me through prayer. God’s desire is for us to pray. (1 Timothy 2:8 ESV) Studying the Bible and hearing God’s Word helps to make our prayer life more effective. If we are slack in seeking wisdom from God’s Word, our prayers may become an abomination to the Lord. (Proverbs 28:9 ESV)

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KNOWING GOD

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

FindingDoingWillOfGodA primary desire of every Christian should be to know God and His Will. Without this knowledge it is impossible to live a holy life. Nevertheless, too few of us actually give the attention we should to knowing God intimately. Many tend to rely on some ethereal feeling as a reliable indicator of God’s Will, but bumps and chills running down the back of your neck and arms are a poor substitute for the Word of God.

The true knowledge of God transforms us into the image of Christ. We must discipline our minds to read, study, meditate on, and pray for our understanding of the Word of God. God has called us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. How are we to do this without knowing Him?

DO YOU DESIRE TO LIVE ACCORDING TO GOD’S WORD?

Martin LutherMartin Luther:

You may as well quit reading and hearing the Word of God, and give it to the devil, if you do not desire to live according to it.

THE PURE WORD OF GOD

Charles SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“What can you do, you children, playing with your little wooden swords – what can you do against men covered from head to foot with the steel mail of the habit of sin? Sunday school teachers, teach your children more and more the pure Word of God! And preachers, do not try to be original, but be content to take of the things of Christ and show them to the people, for that is what the Holy Spirit, Himself does – and you will be wise to use His method and His sword. No sinner around you will be saved except by the knowledge of the great Truths contained in the Word of God. No man will ever be brought to repentance, to faith and to life in Christ, apart from the constant application of the Truth through the Spirit.” (1891, Sermon #2201)

Charles Spurgeon: The Power of the Gospel

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

“The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher; otherwise men would be the converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it would consist in the wisdom of men. We might preach until our tongues rotted, till we would exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless the Holy Spirit be with the Word of God to give it the power to convert the soul.”

A Church of God

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

“Wherever we find the Word of God surely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, there, it is not to be doubted, is a church of God.”

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