• 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 Sword That Cuts Both Ways

From the pen of Louis Albert Banks (1855-1933):

There have been many sharp two-edged swords in the earth, subjected, like the far-famed Damascus blades, to the most ingenious temperings of the swordmaker’s art; but Paul declares that the Word of God is sharper than any of them. Shakespeare must have had this text in his mind where he speaks of “the mind’s eye” which flashes through all the sensations and actions of the soul like lightning, and lays bare to a man’s consciousness all that God has detected within him. There is life in the Word of God. It is living and active to awaken the slumberer, to cut deep beneath the surface and make man know himself.

The Water Of Life

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1 ESV)

Please be patient with me as I make some more observations on my favorite Psalm. I believe that a man may do all that he can to grasp at heaven and never receive amazing grace into his heart until he has known something of the sin that abides there. No man will appreciate salvation through Christ, until he sees his own efforts to attain heaven as his own vanity. The love of Jesus is truly not appreciated until a man is no longer in love with himself.

Therefore, it is the Lord’s purpose that His strength may be made perfect as our own strength fails. This is where God delivers us. We may be on the brink of hell, but an almighty God is able to lift us up and away from the flames. None but God is able to do this. God teaches us that self-strength, self-wisdom, and self-righteousness will fail. Only He will have the glory for our salvation. Trust to God’s caring Providence.

Nothing but the power of God can keep us from falling into temptation. We should become as clay in the hands of the Potter to be made what He would have us to be. When we know that Jesus is our strength, we will always look to the Lord to feel His strength made perfect in our weakness. It is then that we see the power of His resurrection. (See Ephesians 1:16-21 ESV)

The time will come when you thirst for the truth of God’s Word. There will be a time of new earnestness to find Christ in every word of the Bible. Perhaps now you cannot see the things of God you once saw? Perhaps you do not believe the things you once believed? Is this where you find yourself? It is a spiritual desert, but you are not alone. The Bible is full of such examples of those who lost their way, but God had mercy on them and His strength brought them back to His fold. Do you look upon the days that are gone, wishing they would soon return? Have you forgotten the promise; “I will never leave you nor forsake you”? (Hebrews 13:5 ESV)

Are these the feelings of your heart? The Christian knows what it is to cry and mourn and hunger and thirst when it seems that God’s face is hidden. Even then, however, God is at work in your heart. If you were abandoned by the Holy Spirit, your life would, indeed, be as in “a dry and weary land where there is no water”.

Therefore, no matter how painful the journey may be, it is better to be a living and growing soul than to be left alone by God. It is a great blessing to belong to the Lord – even when trials and temptations come your way. Remember God’s Word to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV) In this way, you too will find the Water of Life.

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