• 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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Finding Comfort And Communion In Christ By John Flavel

John Flavel

John Flavel

John Flavel (1627 – 1691) was a Presbyterian clergyman.  He was born at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire and studied at Oxford. A Presbyterian, he held livings at Diptford (in Devon) and Dartmouth. He was ejected from the latter and became a minister of a Nonconformist Church there.  He was a prolific and popular author.  Here is an excerpt from one of his sermons:

Since by conversion all true believers are admitted to the privileged state of communion with God, let them strive to have the greatest amount of communion with God that is possible in this world. They must not be merely content with just enough grace to keep them out of Hell, but should instead labor for as much grace and communion with God Himself that will make their life here on earth like living in the suburbs of Heaven.

It is greatly to our loss that we live at such a far distance from God and are so seldom having fellowship with Him. We ought to make communion with God the aim of our souls in all our religious duties. Let it be the very thing our souls most desire, let the desires and hopes of communion with God be the very thing that draws us to every sermon and prayer. Psalm 27:4 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.

In all our approaches to God through the means of grace let us beg and plead earnestly with God for the manifestations of His love and further communications of His grace. Psalm 27:7-9 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” Hide not your face from me. You bid us to come Lord, therefore we ask that you do not put us off in your anger. You are our help and we have had sweet experiences of your goodness, do not turn us away empty.

We must not desire the comfort and refreshment of communion with God merely for our own sake, but instead for the sake of motivating us to duty and service. These times of refreshment and comfort in communion with God ought to strengthen us to cheerfully serve God in all things. Though great heights of communion with God are attainable on earth, most Christians live far below the privileges and comforts of True Christianity. (John Flavel: Sermons on Revelation 3:20)

Walter Williams: “Stealing From Each Other”

Walter Williams

Walter Williams

“Edgar K. Browning, professor of economics at Texas A&M University, has a new book aptly titled ‘Stealing from Each Other.’ Its subtitle, ‘How the Welfare State Robs Americans of Money and Spirit,’ goes to the heart of what the book is about. The rise of equalitarian ideology has driven Americans to steal from one another. Browning explains that certain kinds of equality have been a cherished value in America. Equality under the law and, within reason, equality of opportunity is consistent with a free society. Equality of results is an anathema to a free society and within it lie the seeds of tyranny… [Browning]… reminds us of the biblical admonition ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ Government income redistribution programs produce the same result as theft. In fact, that’s what a thief does; he redistributes income. The difference between government and thievery is mostly a matter of legality. Browning’s solution is captured in the title of his last chapter, ‘Just Say No,’ where he proposes, ‘The federal government shall not adopt any policies that transfer income (resources) from some Americans to other Americans.’ He agrees with James Madison, the father of our Constitution, who said, ‘I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents’.”

Continue reading here. . . .

Are You Using Your Gifts?

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies-in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

I have often wondered who it was that said, “Lord grant that the fire of my heart may melt the lead in my feet.”  He certainly understood the nature of man or at the very least, the nature of one of my greatest struggles.  All talent is useless without an act of the will.  Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35) Spirituality results in action.

Perhaps the secret of spirituality is in doing.  For the Christian, even doing little things are important if they are done for God.  They are part of what unites us to Him.  We are saved by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.  True faith is accompanied by the determination to make right things happen.  The use of God’s gifts is not predicated upon the innate skills of the Christian believer, but upon his willingness to seek God’s glory in all that is done.  God does not create useless Christians.

Consider a sailing ship upon a windless, calm sea.  It has the ability to move quickly along the surface of the water by its sails.  Without wind, however, the sails are useless.  A Christian is much like a sailing ship when the sails are blown full by the wind.  Having been filled with the Holy Spirit, the Christian is not content to drift aimlessly.  He must fulfill the purpose for which was made.  He must answer the call upon his life.  He must use the gifts that carry him closer and closer to God.

Many of us look back upon our lives wishing we had done things we did not do.  For the Christian, this experience is particularly difficult when we recognize the opportunities we have had to honor God with the gifts He has given us and yet – so many times – we failed to act.  Lord, forgive us.  Martin Luther wrote:

“We are not made righteous by doing righteous deeds; but when we have been made righteous we do righteous deeds.”

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