• 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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Why LEGAL Immigration Is Bankrupting America

This is the demonstration that Roy Beck uses to show the population consequences of current U.S. immigration policies. This video has already been viewed by over 6 million people online.

Immigration by the Numbers

Have You Raised Up A “God” Of Your Own?

Many people in our time scorn Christianity as narrow-minded, harsh, and bigoted. They deny any accountability to the Creator of the universe. In His place they raise up a god who worships his creation. Charles Spurgeon, the great British preacher of the 19th century, responded to this problem in his own day:

“This generation has made a god of its own. The effeminate deity of the modern school is no more the true God than Dagon or Baal. I know him not, neither do I reverence him. But Jehovah is the true God: he is the God of love, but he is also robed in justice; he is the God of forgiveness, but he is also the God of atonement; he is the God of heaven, but he is also the God who sends the wicked down to hell.

“We, of course, are thought to be harsh, and narrow-minded, and bigoted: nevertheless, this God is our God for ever and ever. There has been no change in Jehovah. He has revealed himself more clearly in Christ Jesus; but he is the same God as in the Old Testament, and as such we worship him.”

Archbishop Says Some Democrats Don’t Know Christianity

Archbishop Charles Chaput

Archbishop Charles Chaput

According to Denver Archbishop Chaput, “The future of a community, a people, a church and a nation depends on the children who will inherit it.  If we prevent our children from being born, we remove ourselves from the future. It’s really that simple. No children, no future.”

WorldNetDaily reports that the Archbishop denounced the “spin” among politicians seeking to justify abortion and appease militant pro-abortion interests, including the billion-dollar tax-supported Planned Parenthood.

“Catholic public leaders inconvenienced by the abortion debate tend to take a hard line in talking about the ‘separation of church and state.’ But their idea of separation often seems to work one way. In fact, some officials also seem comfortable in the role of theologian. And that warrants some interest, not as a ‘political’ issue, but as a matter of accuracy and justice.”

Quoting “Abortion: The Development of the Roman Catholic Perspective,” Archbishop Chaput said:

“The Christian tradition from the earliest days reveals a firm antiabortion attitude … The condemnation of abortion did not depend on and was not limited in any way by theories regarding the time of fetal animation. Even during the many centuries when church penal and penitential practice was based on the theory of delayed animation, the condemnation of abortion was never affected by it. Whatever one would want to hold about the time of animation, or when the fetus became a human being in the strict sense of the term, abortion from the time of conception was considered wrong, and the time of animation was never looked on as a moral dividing line between permissible and impermissible abortion.

“Or to put it in the blunter words of the great Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer: ‘Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.'”

Archbishop Chaput said the church’s early fathers held abortion was homicide; “others that it was tantamount to homicide.  None diminished the unique evil of abortion as an attack on life itself, and the early church closely associated abortion with infanticide.”

“From the beginning, the believing Christian community held that abortion was always, gravely wrong.  Of course, we now know with biological certainly exactly when human life begins. Thus, today’s religious alibis for abortion and a so-called ‘right to chose’ are nothing more than that – alibis that break radically with historic Christian and Catholic belief.”

“Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it.  The duty of the church and other religious communities is moral witness. The duty of the state and its officials is to serve the common good, which is always rooted in moral truth. A proper understanding of the ‘separation of church and state’ does not imply a separation of faith from political life. But of course, it’s always important to know what our faith actually teaches.”

The Archbishop was joined at a vigil outside of a Planned Parenthood business in Denver by Dr. Alveda King, niece to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dr. King has written that “continued tax dollars to Planned Parenthood, and support of gay marriage, are diametrically opposed to everything African Americans truly believe and an anathema to the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”  She goes on to write, “I urge you, don’t put your race before your principles, before the truth, before your family, and before your own country.

Governor Sarah Palin: The McCain Choice For Vice-President

John McCain, once again, proved to be a “maverick” today by unexpectedly nominating Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice-President on the Republican ticket.  Governor Palin is known as a pro-life, gun rights, low taxes, and aggressive political ethics reformer.

Sarah Palin was born on February 11th, 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho.  She arrived with her family in Alaska in 1964, where her parents moved to teach school. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications-Journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.  She is married to Todd Palin, a lifelong Alaskan and production operator on the North Slope.  He is also known as the four-time champion of the world’s longest snowmachine race which is called the “Iron Dog.”  The Palins have five children: Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig. Track enlisted in the U.S. Army on Sept. 11, 2007.  Trig was born with Downs Syndrome.

The Vice-Presidential nominee worked as a sports reporter for two Anchorage television stations.  Prior to becoming Governor, she served on numerous boards and commissions throughout the state. She was very active as a sports team mom and school volunteer. She also runs marathons and is a lifetime member of the NRA who enjoys hunting and fishing.

Before her election as governor, Palin served two terms on the Wasilla City Council and two terms as the mayor/manager of Wasilla.  She reduced property tax levels while increasing services.  She has also served as chair of the Alaska Conservation Commission which regulates oil and gas.

Sarah Palin is the first woman Governor of Alaska and the first woman nominated by the Republican Party for Vice-President.  After becoming Governor, Palin’s administration aggressively worked for and passed two major pieces of legislation; an overhaul of the state’s ethics laws and a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline.

As Governor, Palin led Alaska to invest $5 billion in state savings, restructured education funding, and developed the Senior Benefits Program that provides support for low-income senior Alaskans. She also created Alaskas Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to provide oversight and maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities and infrastructure.

Governor Palin is chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.  This is a multi-state government agency that promotes the conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural gas resources. She was recently named chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) Natural Resources Committee.

The McCain Campaign expects Americans to support the McCain-Palin candidacy based on their records of promoting government reform.  If elected, Governor Palin will be the first woman to hold the office of Vice-President of the United States.

The Democrats And Their Funny Southern Moments

AWR Hawkins is a Ph.D. candidate at Texas Tech University. His doctoral studies are focused on the U.S. Military and his dissertation on the Civil War era. He has been published on topics including the U.S. Navy, Civil War battles, Vietnam War ideology, the Reagan Presidency, and the Rebirth of Conservatism, 1968-1988. More of his articles can be found at www.awrhawkins.com.

In his very humorous article, “Time to Shoot His Goose?” – Hawkins writes about the extremes that Democrats sometimes go to in order to win southern voters.  He writes:

Democrats regard southerners as hayseed, gun-toting, backwater hicks who are especially embarrassing when screaming for their favorite NASCAR driver or pledging allegiance to “one nation under God.” Let’s face it, southerners are simply not genteel or refined enough for NARAL, Democrat-sponsored D.C. cocktail parties, or the European Union. Nor are we accustomed to surrendering on the battlefield as quickly and as frequently as the French-loving Democrats.

If you really think about it, the gap separating Democrats, who claim to represent “the people,” and southerners, who constitute a large enough segment of “the people” to make or break a politician’s electoral hopes, is so wide you can barely see across it. And that’s why Democrat Presidential and Senatorial candidates take the N.O.W. and “I break for tofu” bumper stickers off their cars for a just a couple of days once every four or six years, and have their pictures taken in a hunting vest or a pickup truck (but never in front of a Confederate flag) in order to persuade at least one southern state to support them. . . .

Continue reading “Time to Shoot His Goose?”

Why Is A Holy Life Necessary? By J. C. Ryle

John Charles Ryle

John Charles Ryle

John Charles Ryle (1816 – 1900) was the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool. He was born at Macclesfield, and was educated at Eton and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he was Craven Scholar in 1836. Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was thoroughly evangelical in his doctrine and uncompromising in his principles. J.C. Ryle was a prolific writer, vigorous preacher, and faithful pastor. Below is an excerpt from his great works:

I have had a deep conviction for many years that practical holiness and entire self-consecration to God are not sufficiently attended to by modern Christians in this country. Politics, or controversy, or party-spirit, or worldliness, have eaten out the heart of lively piety in too many of us. The subject of personal godliness has fallen sadly into the background. The standard of living has become painfully low in many quarters. The immense importance of ‘adorning the doctrine of God our Savior’ (Titus 2:10), and making it lovely and beautiful by our daily habits and tempers, has been far too much overlooked. Worldly people sometimes complain with reason that ‘religious’ persons, so-called, are not so amiable and unselfish and good-natured as others who make no profession of religion. Yet sanctification, in its place and proportion, is quite as important as justification. Sound Protestant and Evangelical doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse then useless; it does positive harm. It is despised by keen-sighted and shrewd men of the world, as an unreal and hollow thing, and brings religion into contempt. It is my firm impression that we want a thorough revival about Scriptural holiness. And I am deeply thankful that attention is being directed to the point. . . .

Satan knows well the power of true holiness, and the immense injury which increased attention to it will do to his kingdom. It is his interest, therefore, to promote strife and controversy about this part of God’s truth. Just as in time past he has succeeded in mystifying and confusing men’s minds about justification, so he is laboring in the present day to make men ‘darken counsel by words without knowledge’ about sanctification. May the Lord rebuke him! I can not however give up the hope that good will be brought out of evil, that discussion will elicit truth, and that variety of opinion will lead us all to search the Scriptures more, to pray more, and to become more diligent in trying to find out what is ‘the mind of the Spirit.’

Honoring God By Honoring Your Pastor

Pastors are servants who have been called by God to shepherd His flock. It is not an easy job to undertake. Pastors need encouragement and support from their church members.

One of the most important things you can do for your pastor is to pray for him. The pastor, his family, the elders and deacons are often targeted by satanic schemes and strife. The devil’s objective is to strike the pastor (shepherd) and scatter the flock. This is often accomplished through members of the pastor’s own church. It is, therefore, important that the church leadership and members of the congregation stand in the gap with consistent prayers for the pastor’s protection.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Speak words of encouragement to and about your pastor. Talk well of him. Embrace his ministry to you as a gift from God. Do not allow your words to reveal an immature relationship with Christ in your life. Do not allow your tongue to speak evil when the Word of God is preached to you.

“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:5-10)

God honors his shepherds and commands us to do the same. “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” (1 Timothy 5:17) It is worth noting that the Bible mentions other groups to honor but only one group worthy of double honor. You may not agree with every opinion your pastor holds or like every sermon he preaches, but you must take into account the spiritual importance of his work in your life. Maybe you have unrealistic expectations for him to be something other than human. Remember, his position is worthy of “double honor.” It must be esteemed because to do so is to honor God.

Do You Desire Comfort Or Truth?

Much of society has abandoned the idea of absolute truth – at least as far as morality is concerned.  Higher education has bowed its knee to the religion of personal pragmatic truth.  Our youth have adopted the attitude that, “Whatever seems to work for me is my truth.”  We have forgotten that truth does not change with the winds of public opinion.

“The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it.  Ignorance may deride it.  But in the end, there it is.” (Winston Churchill)

Truth is the foundation of all knowledge.  Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world-to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” ((John 18:37) Jesus Christ offers the world a choice between truth and lie.  You can embrace only one, not both.  Whatever your opinion may be, there is only one absolute truth.

The denial of absolute truth is not only self-contradictory, it is destructive and evil.  We see the consequences of such worldviews in men like Adolf Hitler who said, “There is no such thing as truth either in the moral or the scientific sense.”  Contrast this view with C. S. Lewis’ statement: “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”  The greatest tragedy is that the soft soap, wishful thinking, and despair are the breeding grounds of men like Hitler.  “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Romans 1:18)

Do not waste your life in the make-believe world of your own vanity.  There is nothing more beautiful than absolute moral truth and when we do not defend it, we suppress it.  Sit at the feet of Christ who is Truth itself.  Do not forget – you are called to love God with your entire mind.  Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

The “Do-Nothing” Congress

“The 110th Congress, whose term officially ends in January, hasn’t… attacked high gasoline prices. But it has used its powers to celebrate watermelons and to decree the origins of the word ‘baseball.’ Barring a burst of legislative activity after Labor Day, this group of 535 men and women will have accomplished a rare feat. In two decades of record keeping, no sitting Congress has passed fewer public laws at this point in the session-294 so far-than this one. That’s not to say they’ve been idle. On the flip side, no Congress in the same 20 years has been so prolific when it comes to proposing resolutions-more than 1,900, according to a tally by the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. With the mostly symbolic measures, Congress has saluted such milestones as the Idaho Potato Commission’s 70th anniversary and recognized soil as an ‘essential natural resource.’ As legislation on gasoline prices, tax fixes and predatory lending languish, Congress has designated May 5-9 as National Substitute Teacher Recognition Week, and set July 28 as the Day of the American Cowboy. The resolutions, which generally don’t carry the force of law, can originate in either the House or Senate. However, some types of resolutions establish the federal budget, authorize the president to go to war, or condemn actions such as the genocide in Darfur. Even among the 294 laws passed thus far, many were symbolic in nature.”

Government – Elizabeth Williamson

The Absalom Syndrome By Mark Wheeler

John was a man with a mission–to oust the pastor. He had a long-standing grudge and refused to let go of it.

John would sidle up to newcomers and say, “Does the pastor strike you as a little cold? Does it bother you that he votes on his own salary? Did you hear about the squabble last year? Let me fill you in on what really happened.”

John rehashed his complaints with each new staffer and board member. If the leader didn’t take his side, John accused him of covering up the issues.

My turn came one hot, summer evening. I had heard about John’s tactic. I refused to be part of any gossip. To each accusation, I said, “John, you need to deal with your bitterness. I won’t listen to any more until you do that.” John has yet to do that, and now he considers me part of the cover-up.

Church staff, board members, and leaders are natural lightning rods for complainers. Afraid of voicing objections publicly or confronting the pastor directly, the disgruntled often come to us. Serving in staff positions over the past 10 years, I’ve learned some hard lessons about loyalty and integrity.

1. Step away from the gate. If we are not careful, associates can easily become an Absalom at the gate, stealing away the hearts of Israel (2 Sam. 15:1- 6). Like King David’s son, we begin to think that things would be different if we were in charge, that we are the answer to the problem. We’re tempted to think we’re more “in touch” than the senior pastor. We discover there’s support for our way of thinking, and we can become the catalyst for a power struggle or church split.

2. The shortest distance between two points does not go through me. Rather than playing Absalom, we should follow the biblical pattern of confrontation (Matt. 18:15-17). Instead of listening to rumors, we need to ask the complainer, “Have you talked to the pastor yet?”

If he hasn’t, we should politely tell him to follow what Scripture says about confrontation without commenting on the concerns. If he has done that and the matter has not been resolved, we should encourage him to follow Christ’s instruction by taking another person along for a private meeting with the pastor. If there is no resolution, then take it to the official leadership of the church.

3. “They” will get you into trouble. At the church I serve, we have adopted the “they” rule. If a critic says “they say” or “several people are upset,” we ask the complainer to identify who “they” are. It’s hard to know how serious a situation is if you don’t know whether “they” are one person or 100.

If the individual bringing the criticism is unwilling to identify “them” or have them speak directly to the party that has offended them, we won’t listen to their accusations. After all, the end of Absalom’s life shows the danger of playing to the crowd.

4. Loyal David is a better example. Rather than Absalom’s rebellion, a much better example for us is David’s respect for his superior, Saul. Instead of manipulating the present for my own ends, I need to relax and trust God for my future.

To keep my heart pure and my perspective straight, I’ve had to discipline myself to do two things. One is to pray for my seniors on a daily basis. It’s hard to criticize someone when you are praying for him. Lifting him up before God tends to diffuse any frustration and helps me to see him as God does. And two, I remind myself that, ultimately, I am serving Jesus Christ.

Mark Wheeler is associate pastor of Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, Washington – Leadership Weekly

Where Does Senator Joe Biden Stand On The Issues?

If you really want to know a candidate, look at his voting record on the issues that are important to you.  See the real Joe Biden here. . . .

Christianity Ticks Bill Maher Off

Kristen Fyfe reviews Bill Maher’s recent appearance on CNN’s Larry King in her article titled, Maher: Christianity ‘the ultimate hustle.'” Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.  Bill Maher is the host of the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher.  Maher despises Christianity.  Here are a couple of comments of note:

Maher on politics and religion – “… certainly in political life (religion has) had a terribly detrimental effect. I mean, did you see the Rick Warren thing?

“And by the way, let me just preface this by saying I’m asking people for perspective. I have it also.  Rick Warren, big improvement over Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. If we have to have a pope of the super Christ-ies, I’d rather it be him. He’s got good ideas about actually, you know — actually helping people. Because you know, one thing I don’t like about religion is that, you know, ask any of the truly devout. It’s not mainly about doing the right thing or being ethical. It’s mainly about salvation. It’s mainly about getting your butt saved when you die. And that’s why I think they’re less moral than ethicists.”

Maher on his new film “Religulous” – “So we’re not trying to point fingers in this movie. I think we do it — we’re laughing all the way through it. I think we’re winking and having a good time, and we’re not trying to be judgmental. But at some point, you know, mankind is going to have to shed this skin if he’s going to move forward. I do have a serious intellectual problem with it.  And on another level it just ticks me off. It’s just the ultimate hustle. It’s just ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.’ You know, why can’t they, I always ask — I asked Jesus at Holy Land, ‘Why can’t God just defeat the devil and get rid of evil?’  You know, and it’s the same reason the comic-book character can’t get rid of his nemesis. Then there’s no story. If God gets rid of the devil — and he could, he’s all powerful — well, then there’s no fear. There’s no reason to come to church. There’s no reason to pass the plate. We’re all out of a job. You know, it’s got to go on.”

Maher also believes that “rationalists” (people who do not believe in God) in the US outnumber blacks, Jews, homosexuals, and NRA members.  He believes that “rationalists” should play a more prominent role in politics.

Maher is obviously not a student of history.  What sort of political utopias have we seen atheism produce?  Communist atheism resulted in the murder of over 90,000,000 of its citizens in the 20th Century alone.  This total does not, of course, include the Nazis who were following Hitler’s atheistic/Darwinian agenda in exterminating millions.  These totals dwarf even the exaggerated claims of anti-Christians who point out the number of people killed in religious conflicts, the inquisition, and witch burnings over the last 1,900 years.  Most of these were really driven by politics rather than Christianity.  Much of the rest occurred from ignorance of the truth claims of the Scriptures.

This ignorance is very evident in Maher’s comments about Christianity.  What is even sadder is that many will believe him.

Have You Ever Heard God Speaking To You?

What do you think the voice of God would sound like if He were speaking to you today?  I have never heard the audible voice of God, so I do sometimes wonder if God is leading me in this or that direction or if I’m missing His guidance altogether.

The Bible gives us many examples of the ways in which God has spoken to His people.  God has spoken through a donkey.  God spoke through His prophets.  His angels have spoken to various persons for Him.  He has spoken through His Holy Spirit.  He speaks to all of us through His Word.  Is God speaking to you?

There is no three step formula to hearing from God.  We must, however, diligently read the Scriptures and pray.  God’s written word is our most certain teacher.

If God were speaking to you today, would you be ready to obey His call?  What would be your response?  Have you received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?  Is this relationship your greatest treasure?  If so, God will give you the guidance you need.  Be patient.

Know this above all, however: Jesus Christ was born into this world and lived a perfect life in order to die and pay the price for our sins.  He has risen from the dead in order that He may be the first born of many who will share eternal life in the kingdom of God.  This relationship is the “pearl of great price.”

Yet, there are still many who have heard God’s word, but are not ready or willing to fully obey.  They, somehow, believe that life won’t be as much fun if they do what God asks.  The source of this lie is Satan who hates and fears your obedience to God.  To refuse to obey God is to obey Satan and fall into sin.  Many have been deceived by following the voice of Satan instead of discerning the word and voice of 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)

Can You Render Too Much To Caesar?

Have you ever complained to someone about paying high taxes only to have them respond to you from Matthew 22:21 “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”?  Do you feel like you have been told, “Now be a good little Christian and run along and play”?

Gary DeMar, in his article “Using The Power Of Civil Government To Steal,” provides an interesting argument on the misuse of this quote.  Here are a few excerpts from the article:

“There are several problems this person’s use of Matthew 22:21 to deal with modern-day taxing policy in the United States. First, because governments compel people to pay taxes because they have the power to do so does not mean that what they are doing is legitimate. It’s still stealing even if we as citizens (which most of the Jews living under Caesar were not) are obligated to pay. If someone strikes me, and I’m to turn the other cheek, the person who struck me is still wrong in what he did. In fact, Jesus calls him an “evil person” (Matt. 5:39). . . .

“Second, as citizens of the United States, we do not live under Caesar! This may come as a shock to Christians, but it’s true. In principle we are to render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar only when we define our ‘Caesar.’ We live under the Constitution of the United States at the federal level in which we have multiple freedoms, including the right, according the First Amendment, ‘to petition the government for a redress of grievances. . . .’

“Third, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution informs us that ‘the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. . . .’

“Fourth, the Constitution is a contract that elected officials are bound by oath to follow as the ‘supreme Law of the Land’ (Art. VI, clause 2). The Constitution does not give elected officials carte blanche authority to enact laws because the people want them to create programs that will needed to be funded by taking money from some citizens so other citizens can benefit. . . .”

Continue reading here. . . .

Charles H. Spurgeon: “We Live Unto The Lord”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon

British Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 – 1892) became the most popular minister of the nineteenth century, regularly attracting crowds of 6,000 each Sunday to his London – based Metropolitan Tabernacle church. In the history of Christianity, no other cleric is more widely read – after Biblical ones – than Spurgeon. He has more material available to readers than any other Christian author, dead or alive.

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven, and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he has but just believed in Jesus. It is true that our sanctification is a long and continued process,

. . . and we shall not be perfected till we lay aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, had the Lord so willed it, He might have changed us from imperfection to perfection, and have taken us to heaven at once.

Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battle-field when one charge might give them the victory? Why are His children still wandering hither and thither through a maze, when a solitary word from His lips would bring them into the centre of their hopes in heaven?

The answer is – they are here that they may “live unto the Lord,” and may bring others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation. We are here as the “salt of the earth,” to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, and as “workers together with Him.”

Let us see that our life answereth its end. Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to “the praise of the glory of His grace.” Meanwhile we long to be with Him, and daily sing:

“My heart is with Him on His throne,

And ill can brook delay;

Each moment listening for the voice,

‘Rise up, and come away.'”

(From Spurgeon’s 19th century devotional “Morning and Evening”)

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