• 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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Murder On The Streets Of Iran

This girl was shot by Iranian police while protesting the recent presidential election in Iran.

The Tenth Amendment

flagrevolution1From: The Pen of Dr. Archie Jones

The Articles of Confederation was our first constitution. Although it was abandoned in favor of the Constitution because of its defects, it contained principles which the vast majority of Americans wanted in the Constitution. . . .

The Articles of Confederation was framed during the early years of our struggle for independence. On June 12, 1776, even before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress appointed a committee (one man from each colony) to draft a plan of confederation. . . .

The debates in Congress decided that “sovereignty” would remain in the state governments—not the central or national government. . . .

The Articles of Confederation was replaced by the Constitution because its central government was too weak. It had no power to tax; the most it could do was request money from the states. It did not have enough power over foreign commerce and had no power over interstate commerce. It had no power to raise an army; all it could do was request troops from the states. It had no executive—law-enforcing—branch of government. It had no judicial branch of government, so it had no means of settling disputes over national laws. Its requirements made the enactment of laws too difficult. And the Articles were too hard to amend.

Though these defects were remedied in the Constitution, Americans’ dedication to the right of each state to govern its own internal affairs and to the protection of individual liberty by protecting states’ rights against centralization of power in the national government led the framers of the Constitution to exercise great care in designing the structure, powers, and limits of the new governmental system established by the Constitution. . . .

Yet the Constitution had its own defects, as the Anti-Federalists’ criticisms made clear. Concern about the consequences of these defects—usurpation of power from the states; centralization of power in the national government; concentration of power in Congress, the President, and/or the Supreme Court; and unjust, even tyrannical rule by the central government—led to insistence on the addition of a bill of rights to the Constitution. And concern for the preservation of federalism—and of the states’ authority over their own internal affairs, and of liberty—ensured that what became the Tenth Amendment must be an integral part of the Bill of Rights: “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.”

Read the entire article. . . .

Why Should A Pastor Lead His Congregation In Corporate Prayer?

Mark Dever

Mark Dever

In The Words of Mark Dever:

In individual prayer, I am simply responding to God myself—my own knowledge of him, my relationship with him, my experience with him. In corporate prayer, when somebody opens their mouth to pray for a whole group of people, then the person leading has to think not just for themselves but they have to think, “What does this Bible study group, or what does my family, or what does this local church need to praise God for, thank him for, confess and ask him for. . . .”

Paul tells the Corinthians that we have the same Spirit in us, and corporate prayer is a wonderful acting-out of the ontological unity that we have spiritually as we literally speak with one voice to God. To deny that, and to instead view the church’s gathering as your quiet time with five hundred other people, is to miss out. It screens out the local church from the reality experienced as a Christian. It’s an impoverishment.

Participating regularly in corporate prayer begins to take out the individualistic assumption that Christianity is only about me and my relationship with God; and it begins to re-situate us as individual Christians in the congregation so that we become aware of this person who’s sick, this person who’s just had a baby, this person who’s unemployed, this person who’s just become a Christian. Participating in corporate prayer helps us discover that our lives as followers of Christ are tied up with one another’s. It helps us discover how God cares about the congregation as an entity—that it should be marked by the fruit of the Spirit and the love of John 13:34-35.

That’s not how Christians in America normally talk. You hear about “my own spiritual desires and demands”; you don’t really hear about the local congregation’s desires and demands. But regularly participating in corporate prayer reintroduces these ideas and reorients our thinking. . . .

I think the pastoral prayer is important for showing ourselves and others that the church is not doing what we appear to be doing, but that all this is God’s work. Ultimately, everything that we do is dependent upon God and his grace, his mercy, his action. So I think the time given to intercession is a proper, appropriate, worshipful, thankful expression of dependency, and it’s a good and right thing for Christians to do.

Read this interview. . . .

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