• 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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  • October 2010
    M T W T F S S
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Where Are The Heroes?

8 These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time.

9 And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. 10 He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.

11 And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. 12 But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and the Lord worked a great victory. (2 Samuel 23)

There is a sad tendency among modern men and women to seek to discredit rather than admire the noble character of a hero. It seems that praise must be accompanied by an unhealthy dose of skepticism – otherwise, to praise a real hero is to humiliate yourself. It is as if true admiration must be left behind in the nursery with the innocence of childhood. The modern man must not admire anything or he will appear ridiculous to his peers. Strong beliefs and actions are only for fanatics. Let some historic figure be seen as a hero and there will be no end to those academic researchers who will seek to find some piece of scandal or half-truth in his or her life that will bring him or her down to their level. Our modern culture has become too insecure to tolerate the possibility of noble character. Charles Wagner, who is the author of Courage, writes:

What is a hero? He is a man of larger stature than his fellows, who has lived an intense and wider human life than the majority; a being who concentrates in his mind and heart the aspirations of a whole epoch, and gives them powerful expression; or it may be that he is a man who appears above the crowd to accomplish one deed, but one so great, so fine, that it immortalizes him.

When we study the history of humanity, we see heroes appearing at the beginning of every great movement. Their example is contagious; some virtue emanates from them and takes possession of others. It is their privilege to arouse enthusiasm, hope, and light. They are the saviors of hopeless times, the guides in dark days, the pioneers of the future, the pure and noble victims who die for justice and truth, in order to pave the way for them. But what influence would they have without the respect, admiration, and enthusiasm which they excite in us? It is by dint of admiring them that we become capable of profiting by their virtues. What is true of the hero is true of everything that is heroic, to no matter what degree. Everything that is great, everything that is beautiful, everything that is pure and sacred, penetrates to our hearts through our respect and admiration. These are the senses by which we perceive the high realities of the soul….

I am not speaking here of our illustrious heroes, but of those obscure, unknown, unnamed heroes of whom the world is full. It is for them that I ask of youth eyes and ears to perceive, and a heart to admire. . . .

Where is this good, of which I speak, to be found? We must seek for it. Those who seek for it and are capable of seeing it will find it. I urge many young people to investigate this unknown region. They will discover many salutary herbs which will serve them as elixirs.

The truth is that no one has any idea of the number of good people who live about us. The amount of suffering patiently borne, the injuries pardoned, the sacrifices made, the disinterested efforts, are impossible to count. It is a world full of unknown splendors, like the profound grottoes lighted by the marvelous lamp of Aladdin. These are the reserves of the future; these are the silent streams that run beneath the earth, and without which the sources of good would long since have become exhausted, and the world have returned to barbarism. Happy is he who can explore the sacred depths!

Continue reading. . . .

Pardoned By God

Thomas Watson

Quoting Thomas Watson:

“Whenever God pardons sin, He subdues it, Micah 7:19. Then is the condemning power of sin taken away, when the commanding power of it is taken away. If a malefactor be in prison, how shall he know that his prince hath pardoned him? If a jailer come and knock off his chains and fetters, and lets him out of prison, then he may know he is pardoned; so, how shall we know God hath pardoned us? If the fetters of sin be broken off, and we walk at liberty in the ways of God, this is a blessed sign we are pardoned.”

Respect Requires A Position Of Strength

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

President Ronald Reagan

Image by edalisse via Flickr

“[M]y highest duty as president [is] to preserve peace and defend these United States. … American strength is once again a sheltering arm for freedom in a dangerous world. Strength is the most persuasive argument we have to convince our adversaries to negotiate seriously and to cease bullying other nations. But tonight the security program that you and I launched to restore America’s strength is in jeopardy, threatened by those who would quit before the job is done. Any slackening now would invite the very dangers America must avoid and could fatally compromise our negotiating position. Our adversaries … respect only nations that negotiate from a position of strength.”

What’s So Scary About The Devil?

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.” (C.S. Lewis)

Does evil exist? Do you believe in Satan? Many in today’s world believe he is a myth, a boogeyman, a fable, or the product of an ignorant superstitious mind. The Bible has a lot to say about the demonic, but it is largely ignored in our enlightened culture and even in our churches. We have developed a more therapeutic strategy for dealing with the dark side of human nature and sin. We now refer to evil as a sickness rather than acknowledge the power of its autonomous influence.

Satan is a brilliant strategist. He is utterly satisfied when you are unwilling to acknowledge his existence. He is quite capable of setting before you a vision and plan for your ultimate happiness. His goal, however, is to use every means at his disposal to keep men separated from God. His unrelenting malevolence towards mankind is satisfied only by our destruction. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44)

We are in the middle of a cosmic spiritual battle and mankind is an unwitting bondservant to the master of evil. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” (John 8:44) Paul wrote, “the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

How is it possible to resist such a formidable foe? We can’t in and of ourselves. We are too weak and flawed by the fall of Adam. How then may we overcome the evil designs of this master puppeteer? James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, writes – “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” (James 4:7) In order to overcome Satan, the first thing you need is a new master. Without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God, you will never defeat the devil’s influence over your life. James then says in the same verse, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Once you have submitted to Christ as your Lord, you are then enabled to resist. But Peter reminds us to be “sober-minded” and “watchful” and “firm in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9) The devil will continue to seek to devour you.

I do not subscribe to the theory that there is a demon under every bush. Nor can we excuse our sins by claiming that, “The devil made me do it!” Even without Satan there is quite enough evil residing in our corrupted natures to commit unspeakable acts. However, if we are to truly understand the nature of the universe in which we live, we must take seriously the Bible’s portrayal of Satan and his demons as personal spiritual entities who are actively involved in the lives of people on this planet in the worse possible ways. Therefore, God the Father sent Jesus Christ “to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)

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