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  • 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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The Deceitful Pastor

Quoting Tom Hovestol:

“Pastors can hardly do a greater disservice to people than to convince those bound for hell that they are in route to heaven.”

Marriage Is The Cornerstone Of Society

Quoting Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Chuck Donovan:

Marriage is the cornerstone in an archway of values that form the constitution of the family and the foundation of civil society. To its advocates as an institution with a pre-political meaning, it is not an entity created by the state but rather one recognized by the state. It is not about one family, but the coming together of two families, whose role in begetting and bearing children make them not merely part of a community but the creators of community. The community they create is not time-bound, but existing across generations. … What is at stake is the whole task of society to ensure that as many children as possible are raised by their mothers and fathers.

J. C. Ryle On Finding Relief For The Soul

Are you at rest from spiritual anxiety about death, judgment, and eternity? A Christian may certainly have his seasons of darkness and doubt, but in general, he finds that Christ in his heart is an unfailing source of comfort. God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, gives a sense of pardon and peace through Christ’s atonement and intercession, that though you may have fears and conflicts, you will not find yourself beyond hope. Bishop J. C. Ryle writes concerning this topic:

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. (John 7:37)

There is hardly a step in man’s life, from childhood to old age, hardly any position in which man can be placed, for which the Bible has not held out encouragement to every one who desires to do right in the sight of God. There are “shalls” and “wills” in God’s treasury for every condition. About God’s infinite mercy and compassion,-about His reasonings to receive all who repent and believe,-about His kindness to forgive, pardon, and absolve the chief of sinners-about His power to change hearts and alter our corrupt nature,-about the encouragements to pray, and bear the Gospel, and draw near to the throne of grace,-about strength for duty, comfort in trouble, guidance in perplexity, help in sickness, consolation in death, support under bereavement, happiness beyond the grave, reward in glory,-about all these things there is an abundant supply of promises in the Lord. No one can form an idea of its abundance unless he carefully searches the Scriptures, keeping the subject steadily in view. If any one doubts it, I can only say, “Come and see.” Like the Queen of Sheba at Solomon’s Court, you will soon say, “The half was not told me.” (1 Kings x. 7.)

The promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, which heads this paper, is somewhat peculiar. It is singularly rich in encouragement to all who feel spiritual thirst, and come to Him for relief, and therefore it deserves peculiar attention. Most of our Lord’s promises refer specially to the benefit of the person to whom they are addressed. The promise before us takes a far wider range. It seems to refer to many others beside those to whom He spoke. For what says He?-“He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said” (and everywhere teaches), “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive.” Figurative undoubtedly are these words,-figurative, like the earlier words of the sentence,-figurative, like “thirst” and “drinking.” But all the figures of Scripture contain great truths; and what the figure before us was meant to convey I will now try to show.

For one thing, then, I believe our Lord meant that he who comes to Him by faith shall receive an abundant supply of everything that he can desire for the relief of his own soul. The Spirit shall convey to him such an abiding sense of pardon, peace, and hope, that it shall be in his inward man like a well-spring never dry. . . .

But is this all that is contained in the promise which heads this paper? By no means. There yet remains much behind. There is more to follow. I believe our Lord meant us to understand that he who comes to Him by faith shall not only have an abundant supply of everything which he needs for his own soul, but shall also become a source of blessing to the souls of others. The Spirit who dwells in him shall make him a fountain of good to his fellow-men, so that at the last day there shall be found to have flowed from him “rivers of living water.” (Sermon: “If Any Man!”)

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