• 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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  • January 2012
    M T W T F S S
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A Compelling Reason for Rigorous Training of the Mind

John Piper

Quoting John Piper:

I was reading and meditating on the book of Hebrews recently, when it hit me forcefully that a basic and compelling reason for education — the rigorous training of the mind — is so that a person can read the Bible with understanding.

This sounds too obvious to be useful or compelling. But that’s just because we take the preciousness of reading so for granted; or, even more, because we appreciate so little the kind of thinking that a complex Bible passage requires of us.

The book of Hebrews, for example, is an intellectually challenging argument from Old Testament texts. The points that the author makes hang on biblical observations that come only from rigorous reading, not light skimming. And the understanding of these Old Testament interpretations in the text of Hebrews requires rigorous thought and mental effort. The same could be said for the extended argumentation of Romans and Galatians and the other books of the Bible.

This is an overwhelming argument for giving our children a disciplined and rigorous training in how to think an author’s thoughts after him from a text — especially a biblical text. An alphabet must be learned, as well as vocabulary, grammar, syntax, the rudiments of logic, and the way meaning is imparted through sustained connections of sentences and paragraphs.

The reason Christians have always planted schools where they have planted churches is because we are a people of THE BOOK. It is true that THE BOOK will never have its proper effect without prayer and the Holy Spirit. It is not a textbook to be debated; it is a fountain for spiritual thirst, and food for the soul, and a revelation of God, and a living power, and a two-edged sword. But none of this changes the fact: apart from the discipline of reading, the Bible is as powerless as paper. Someone might have to read it for you; but without reading, the meaning and the power of it are locked up.

Continue reading here. . . .

(By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: http://www.desiringGod.org. Email: mail@desiringGod.org. Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700)

John Adams On The Principles Of Liberty



John Adams wrote the following letter to Zabdiel Adams on June 1, 1776:

Statesmen by dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand….The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a great Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.

Christian Resolutions For A New Year

Are you making New Year’s resolutions for 2012? I found some resolutions on the web that I like and I thought I would share a few of them with you. You may click on the author’s name to read the entire article the resolution comes from. As you make your own resolutions, I would suggest that you pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5); pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; rely on God’s strength to help you; and don’t become discouraged with occasional failures. Psalm 37:5-6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” For Christians, God should be in the center of your New Year’s resolutions; they will have a better chance for success.

  1. Resolve to learn that prayer is our chief work. Only then can our work become real service, real accomplishment, and real satisfaction. This simple truth alone explains why so many workers in the church find themselves exhausted, stretched to the breaking point, and burned out. (Ben Patterson)
  2. Resolve to “Act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world” (Jonathan Edwards)
  3. Resolve to reach out to someone who does not know Christ. (Susan Alexander Yates)
  4. Resolve to learn to become a grateful person. (Susan Alexander Yates)
  5. Resolve to read through the Bible every year continually. (Brian Meaden)
  6. Resolve to forget those things which are behind and press forward. (Rick Pendleton)
  7. Resolve to choose to suffer rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short while. (Rick Pendleton)
  8. Resolve to become closer to the brethren. (1 John 1:7)
  9. Resolve to forgive others. (Jim Liebelt)
  10. Resolve to rely more heavily on the grace of God. (Dr. Ralph F. Wilson)
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