• 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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  • March 2010
    M T W T F S S
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We Need Real Men To Take Back Our Skies

Flight 93 Memorial

In the opinion of Gary DeMar:

Let’s say five “swarthy men” get up from their seats and begin to terrorize the passengers and shout threats while five more head for the cockpit. What are you going to do? How far are you willing to go to stop them? What if they threaten to kill a passenger? Have you ever been in a knife fight? Razors cut clean and deep. Could you overpower someone who doesn’t care if he dies and surely doesn’t care if you die? In simple terms, are you willing to fight to the death, either yours or (preferably) theirs? You have to be willing to die but put all your effort in staying alive. Without this, you can’t match the terrorists who have already made the commitment.

These decisions must be made before you ever get on another plane. This means you and I have to prepare for the possibility that the next flight we take might be taken over by radical Muslims. We can’t sit back and watch it happen. We know what’s going to happen if they succeed in taking control of the airplane. . . .

Remember, an airplane is close quarters. That’s to your advantage. The terrorists will be spread throughout the plane and will not be able to get to points of resistance quickly.

Pick an aisle seat, especially if you are traveling with your wife and children. Your positioning will allow you to move fast at the first sign of danger and to serve as a barrier to protect anyone traveling with you. You will also have a better line of sight. If you can, pick a seat in the front of the plane.

The best way to immobilize an attacker is by approaching him from behind. But this isn’t always possible. A frontal assault may be your only opportunity, but you’ll want to avoid being cut. This will mean protecting yourself long enough for someone else to get behind the terrorist. Wrap your jacket or shirt around your arm for protection. It wouldn’t hurt to carry a pair of stiff work gloves in your carry-on bag to protect your hands. A rolled-up in-flight magazine makes a good club. Put it to good use; it’s free. You’ll still need an effective counter weapon. Keys are good. Place your key ring in the palm of your hand. Make a fist over the keys with two keys protruding between your fingers. Thrust the magazine at your assailant’s weapon while you jab the keys repeatedly—using short driving strokes—in his eyes as you force him backward.

Here’s what you should do if you’re the guy who can get behind the terrorist. Use your belt as a garrote. With the ends of the belt gripped tightly in each hand, loop it around the attacker’s throat and pull back and down hard. Pull as if your life depended on it. You want to hurt him. If you are directly behind him, put your knee into the back of his knees or the small of his back and force him forward to his knees and then face-down in the aisle or in a seat. He’ll either drop his makeshift knife to grab at his throat or flail about to cut anyone in his perimeter. If he flails around, put all your pulling weight on the belt to collapse his wind pipe until he passes out. . . .

There are other self-defense measures, but these are the simplest to perform for the untrained. What else can you use for a weapon? In the right hands, a stout ballpoint pen can do plenty of damage if driven into the soft tissue just under the jaw . . . In the right hands, a stout ballpoint pen can do plenty of damage. There’s a scene in The Bourne Identity (2002) that will show you the best technique to use.

It’s time American men take charge. Your wife will love you for it, and you might even save some lives. There is a new battlefield . . . The terrorists have brought the fight to our homes. If we’re ever going to feel safe again without turning America into a police state, we’ve got to push political correctness aside and take real action.

Read more. . . .

The Marketing Of Jesus Christ

John MacArthur

Quoting John MacArthur:

Many in the church today believe that the only way to reach the world is to give the unchurched multitudes what they want. Hundreds of churches have followed precisely that theory, actually surveying unbelievers to learn what it would take to get them to attend.

Subtly the overriding goal is church attendance and worldly acceptability rather than a transformed life. Preaching the Word and boldly confronting sin are seen as archaic, ineffectual means of winning the world. After all, those things actually drive most people away. Why not entice people into the fold by offering what they want, creating a friendly, comfortable environment, and catering to the very desires that constitute their strongest urges? As if we might get them to accept Jesus by somehow making Him more likable or making His message less offensive.

That kind of thinking badly skews the mission of the church. The Great Commission is not a marketing manifesto. Evangelism does not require salesmen, but prophets. It is the Word of God, not any earthly enticement, that plants the seed for the new birth (1 Peter 1:23). We gain nothing but God’s displeasure if we seek to remove the offense of the cross.

Something is wrong with a philosophy that relegates God and His Word to a subordinate role in the church. It is clearly unbiblical to elevate entertainment over biblical preaching and worship in the church service. Sadly, some actually believe that their salesmanship can bring people into the kingdom more effectively than a sovereign God—a philosophy that has opened the door to worldliness in the church. (Adapted from Ashamed of the Gospel, pp. xviii-xix)

The Right Of Self-Government

Robert E. Lee

Quoting Robert E. Lee:

“Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace shall find him a defender.”

John A. Broadus On Spiritual Seasons

35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.” (John 4)

John A. Broadus

In the words of John A. Broadus:

There are seasons in the spiritual sphere-sowing seasons and reaping seasons, just as there are in farming. “Say not ye,” said Jesus, “There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest?”-that is to say, it was four months from that time till the harvest. They sowed their wheat in December; they began to reap it in April. “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

In the spiritual sphere it was a harvest time then, and they were bidden to go forth and reap the harvest that waved white and perishing. We can see, as we look back, that the ends of all the ages had now come to that time; that the long course of providential preparation, dimly outlined in the Old Testament, had led to the state of Things that then prevailed; that the fullness of the times had come, when God sent forth his Son to teach men and to atone for men, and to rise again and come forth as their Saviour, and that his servants should go forth in his name. And the like has been true in many other seasons of Christianity; there have been great reaping times, when men have harvested the fruits which come from the seed scattered by others long before.

This principle is true In individual churches, that there are seasons of sowing and reaping. It has to be so. We sometimes say we do not believe in the revival idea; we think there ought to he revival in the church all the time. If you mean that we ought always to he seeking for spiritual fruits, always aiming at spiritual advancement, it is true. But if you mean that you expect that piety will go on with even current in the church, that there will be just as much sowing and reaping at any one time as at any other, then you will certainly be disappointed. That is not the law of human nature. That is not possible in the world. Periodicity pervades the universe. Periodicity controls the life of all individuals, shows itself in the operations of our minds. Periodicity necessarily appears in the spiritual sphere also. People have Their ups and downs. They ought to strive against falling low. They ought not to be content with growing cold. They ought to seek to maintain good health of body all the while, but it will not be always equally good; and good health of mind and soul all the time, but it ‘will not be always equally good. They ought to be seeking to reap a harvest of spiritual good among those around the mall the while; but they will have seasons which are rather of sowing, and other seasons which will be rather of reaping.

Oh! do you want to see a great season of harvest among your own congregation? And do you not know, brethren, as well as the preacher can tell you, what is necessary in order that you may see it? what are the conditions but deepened spiritual life in your own individual souls, stronger spiritual examples set forth in your lives, more earnest spirituality in your homes, a truer standard in your business and social relations to mankind, more of heartfelt prayer of God’s blessing, and more untiring and patient and persevering effort, in season and out of season, to bring others to seek their salvation? (Sermon: “Some Laws of Spiritual Work”)

The Greatest Threat…Spiritual Decay!

Lieutenant General R. L. Van Antwerp wrote the following paper in 1992 for the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Lieutenant General Van Antwerp served with the U.S. Army as Chief of Engineers and Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He writes:

This study examines the “real threat” to our national security– that we are no longer a “Nation Under God” and are no longer led by those who understand the spiritual dimension of leadership envisioned and demonstrated by our founding fathers. Our founding fathers knew and accepted their role as spiritual leaders and did their best to reflect that in the documents they produced. Most leaders today get caught up in the trap of “secular humanism” and neglect their responsibilities.

The Army of Northern Virginia under General Washington was clearly a reflection of the society it served. The society was God fearing, upright, enduring, and understood the need to be under authority–first God and then those appointed over them. Our society is sick with perversion, immorality, and a host of attitudes which were once unthinkable. Can an army from a sick society endure?

The importance of faith in combat is well documented. It links us to values worth fighting for, sacrificing for, dying for. Leaders must be capable of evaluating the moral and spiritual fitness of the soldiers they lead. Many are ill equipped to meet this need because of their lack of personal faith and spiritual training. In Southwest Asia, commanders discovered the importance of the “faith” dimension of combat readiness. They discovered that the “moral/spiritual” fibre of the soldier is a critically important part of being ready.

Leaders cannot ignore the soldier’s need for spiritual training and the need to see model spiritual leaders any more than they can ignore tough, demanding field training, leadership development, and leadership by example. This type of leadership is provided by those who have a strong personal faith, a leadership style based on Biblical Rrinciples, and have develooed the oro~er spiritual climate in their oraanization. The hope for our nation and the Army rests with today’s and tomorrow’s spiritual leaders.

Continue reading. . . .

Christianity And Conflict

Jay Adams

Quoting Jay Adams:

[W]henever you have contact with unbelief, there is likely to be contention. . . . [I]n every New Testament book, except Philemon, you find conflict of one sort or another. You see, it’s very difficult to present the truth without stepping on someone’s toes–especially liberal toes, when they have a habit of sticking their feet out trying to trip up genuine Christians by their attacks on the Word of God.

Who was ever in greater conflict than the Lord Jesus, unless it was Paul, the apostle? No, if you are confronting error and attempting to help others to be freed from it, sooner or later, you will run into conflict. We should never go looking for contention, but we shouldn’t be amazed when it comes as the result of faithfulness to the Lord Who came “not to send peace upon the earth, but sword.”

Ludwig von Mises On The Social System

Ludwig von Mises

Quoting economist Ludwig von Mises:

A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism: is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.

The Christian And The Law

In the modern church there is much confusion about the relationship of the Christian to the law. It is time for the serious Christian to stop chanting the sugar-coated mantra of “I’m under grace, not the law” and take the time to find out what the Bible really says on this subject.

There is a common misunderstanding that somehow “grace” is at odds with “law.” Many people see grace as the opposite of law, in the same way that war is the opposite of peace. The opposite of law, however, is “lawlessness,” or “anarchy.” According to the Bible, the opposite of grace is “getting what we rightfully deserve.” So the opposite of grace in this sense would be God justly sending us to hell for our sins against Him.

The Ten Commandments should not be viewed as a list of God’s rules, but as an eternal revelation of His love. Love is not lawlessness. Love is doing what God commands. Jesus said if we love Him, we will obey His commandments (John 14:15). Love is trusting that God knows what is best for us and that His Word is truth. The Ten Commandments are representative of God’s eternal love for us.

Read more on this topic in an article by Eric Rauch. . . .

Our Lord’s Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

Charles H. Spurgeon

In the words of Charles H. Spurgeon:

There was an expectation upon the popular mind of the Jewish people, that Messiah was about to come. They expected him to be a temporal prince, one who would make war upon the Romans and restore to the Jews their lost nationality. There were many who, though they did not believe in Christ with a spiritual faith, nevertheless hoped that perhaps he might be to them a great temporal deliverer, and we read that on one or two occasions they would have taken him and made him a king, but that he hid himself. There was an anxious desire that somebody or other should lift the standard of rebellion and lead the people against their oppressors. Seeing the mighty things which Christ did, the wish was father to the thought, and they imagined that He might probably restore to Israel the kingdom and set them free. The Saviour at length saw that it was coming to a crisis. For him it must either be death for having disappointed popular expectation, or else he must yield to the wishes of the people, and be made a king. You know which be chose. He came to Save others, and not to be made a king himself in the sense in which they understood him. The Lord had worked a most remarkable miracle, he had raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been buried four days. This was a miracle so novel and so astounding, that it became town talk. Multitudes went out of Jerusalem to Bethany, it was only about two miles distant, to see Lazarus. The miracle was well authenticated, there were multitudes of witnesses, it was generally accepted as being one of the greatest marvels of the age, and they drew the inference from it that Christ must be the Messiah. The people determined that now they would make him a king, and that now he should lead them against the hosts of Rome. He, intending no such thing, nevertheless overruled their enthusiasm that by it he might have an opportunity of performing that which had been written of him in the prophets. You must not imagine that all those who strewed the branches in the way and cried “Hosanna” cared about Christ as a spiritual prince. No, they thought that he was to be a temporal deliverer, and when they found out afterwards that they were mistaken they hated him just as much as they had loved him, and “Crucify him, crucify him,” was as loud and vehement a cry as “Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Sermon No. 405)

The Weakness Of Man’s Ministry In Glorifying God

Charles H. Spurgeon

From the Desk of Charles H. Spurgeon:

Once again, Brothers, I pray you, eye this Truth of God when you are under a sense of great weakness—physical, mental, or spiritual. You have finished preaching a sermon, you have completed a round with your tracts, or you have ended your Sunday school work for another Sabbath. You say to yourself, “I fear that I have done very poorly.” You groan as you go to your bed because you think that you have not glorified Christ. It is as well that you should groan if that is the case. I will not forbid it, but I will relieve the bitterness of your distress by reminding you that it is the Holy Spirit who is to glorify Christ—“He shall glorify Me.” If I preach and the Holy Spirit is with me, Christ will be glorified! But if I were able to speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but without the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ would not be glorified.

Sometimes our weakness may even help to make way for the greater display of the might of God. If so, we may glory in infirmity, that the power of Christ may rest upon us! It is not merely we, who speak, but the Spirit of the Lord who speaks by us. There is a sound of abundance of rain outside the Tabernacle—would God that there were also the sound of abundance of rain within our hearts! May the Holy Spirit come at this moment and come at all times whenever His servants are trying to glorify Christ—and do, Himself, what must always be His own work! How can you and I glorify anybody, much less glorify Him who is infinitely glorious? But the Holy Spirit, being, Himself, the glorious God, can glorify the glorious Christ! It is a work worthy of God and it shows us, when we think of it, the absolute need of our crying to the Holy Spirit that He would take us in His hands and use us as a workman uses his hammer. What can a hammer do without the hand that grasps it? And what can we do without the Spirit of God?

I will make only one more observation upon this first point. If the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ, I beg you to have an eye to the Truth of God amid all oppositions, controversies and contentions. If we, alone, had the task of glorifying Christ, we might be beaten. But as the Holy Spirit is the Glorifier of Christ, His Glory is in very safe hands. “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” The Holy Spirit is still to the front! The eternal purpose of God to set His King upon the Throne and to make Jesus Christ reign forever and ever must be fulfilled, for the Holy Spirit has undertaken to see it accomplished! Amidst the surging tumults of the battle, the result of the conflict is never in doubt for a moment! It may seem as though the fate of Christ’s cause hung in a balance and that the scales were in equilibrium, but it is not so. The glory of Christ never wanes—it must increase from day to day as it is made known in the hearts of men by the Holy Spirit! And the day shall come when Christ’s praise shall go up from all human tongues. To Him every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father! Therefore, lift up the hands that hang down and confirm the feeble knees. If you have failed to glorify Christ by your speech as you should, there is Another who has done it and who will still do it, according to Christ’s words, “He shall glorify Me.” My text seems to be a silver bell, ringing sweet comfort into the dispirited worker’s ears, “He shall glorify Me.” That is the first point—the Holy Spirit is our Lord’s Glorifier. Keep that Truth of God before your mind’s eye under all circumstances. (Sermon: “The Hoy Spirit’s Chief Office” – NO2382)

The Climate Hoax

Quoting Edmonton Journal columnist Lorne Gunter:

“I can’t recall the wheels coming off the bus of any expert-driven hysteria as fast or as completely as they are now coming off the global-warming scare. … News of the manipulations, distortions and frauds perpetrated to advance and preserve the environmentalists’ cause celebre are so numerous and coming so fast, it’s hard to keep up. First, of course, there were the e-mails and computer files leaked from Britain’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) — one of a handful of climate-research centres around the world that are the pillars of the United Nations’ claims about impending climate doom. … Then a couple of weeks ago came the news that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s climate-change arm, had based its most recent findings on Himalayan glacier melt on an old study that had never been peer-reviewed or even published and which was based entirely on the speculation (not research) of a single Indian scientist who now works at the environmental think-tank run by the head of the IPCC, economist Rajendra Pachauri. This by itself wouldn’t be devastating, except that the scientist in charge of the glacier chapter of the IPCC’s latest assessment report (AR4) admitted he had known the melt estimate was wrong but had included it anyway because ‘we thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action.’ That’s not climate science, it’s environmental activism, pure and simple…. Another revelation of malfeasance this week was the discovery that the chapter on Amazon rainforests in the IPCC’s AR4, the one that included the often-repeated claim that 40 per cent of the forest is under imminent threat from climate change, was written not by climate scientists but by an policy analyst who works for environmental groups and a freelance environmental author. … In all, so far, at least 16 major claims made in AR4 (the report for which the IPCC won a Nobel Prize) have been shown to have originated with environmental groups rather than scientists…. Does all this prove global warming is a hoax? I believe it does. But at the least, it shows the science is far from settled.”

Read more here. . .

“Stonewall” Jackson On Providence

Quoting Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson:

“[M]y religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”

Our Sacred Duty

Quoting President Millard Fillmore (1800-1874):

“We owe these blessings, under Heaven, to the Constitution and Government … bequeathed to us by our fathers, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit … to our children.”

Is The American Church Infected With The Prosperity Gospel?

Sam Storms

Sam Storms, of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, believes that most professing Christians in America are infected to some degree by the health and wealth gospel. This prosperity gospel teaches that wealth and good health are signs of God’s favor and blessing. Storms believes that most pastors fail to explain from the biblical text how hardship and tribulation are actually used by God to expose the superficiality of all our human material props. The church member needs to learn that hardship and persecution compel us to rely on the all-sufficiency of everything God is for us in Jesus.

Our physical comfort in this world is much less important than our spiritual conformity to Christ. God often orchestrates our conformity to the image of Christ through trials and tribulations. When was the last time you heard this in a sermon? We settle too willingly for inferior worldly comforts when God offers through His discipline unsurpassed delights.

Read more about Sam Storms in an article by Lillian Kwon. . . .

Ann Coulter Visits “Politically Correct” Canada

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter provides us with an interesting account of her experience in Canada where she was to deliever a speech at the University of Ottawa. A visit to a secular-progressive country that defines “free speech” as a “hate crime” can be very enlightening for those who have not visited American universities and colleges recently. Some of Miss Coulter’s experiences in Canada are outlined as follows:

  • She was accused of thought crimes.
  • She was threatened with criminal prosecution for a speech she hadn’t given yet.
  • She was denounced on the floor of the Canadian Parliament.
  • Posters advertising her speech were officially banned.
  • Posters denouncing Miss Coulter were plastered all over the University of Ottawa campus.
  • Elected officials were prohibited from attending her speech.
  • The provost of the University of Ottawa wrote to her—disseminating his letter to others—to recommend that she familiarize herself with Canada’s criminal laws regarding hate speech.
  • The Ottawa University Student Federation met for 7 1/2 hours to conclude that Ann Coulter violates “positive space” (whatever that means).
  • The speech had to be canceled because the auditorium was surrounded by a huge crowd of liberal fascists who were screaming, blocking the entrance, throwing tables, demanding that Coulter’s books be burned, and finally setting off the fire alarm.

Coulter’s entire article, “Oh, Canada!”, may be read here. . . .

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