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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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Unhappiness

In the words of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

“Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them but they are talking to you, they bring back the problems of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this: instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” he asks. His soul had been depressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says, “Self, listen for moment, I will speak to you.”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:5-6 ESV)

Fear and Denial

According to R.C. Sproul:

“As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.” (Essential Truths of the Christian Faith)

Christians Have a Reading Problem

George Gallop once said, “Americans revere the Bible – but, by and large, they don’t read it.” People in the church or in the world typically do not read the Bible.

For instance: Can you name the four Gospels? Can you name four of the 12 disciples? Can you tell us what five of the Ten Commandments are? Is “God helps those who help themselves” a Bible verse? The majority of people today cannot answer these questions correctly. (George Barna) America seems to be growing into a nation of Bible illiterates.

Don’t misunderstand me – because I do not think you have to be a Bible trivia expert to be a Christian, but I do believe that Bible illiteracy is a breeding ground for heresy in the church and a toxin to individuals and families.

“Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel, for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.” (Hosea 4:1-2 ESV) “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.” (Hosea 4:6 ESV)

How many lives are being destroyed, because Churches lack true Bible teachers? How often are churches led astray by false teachers and false doctrines because those in the church do not read the Bible? How many people who because they cannot determine what is true Bible preaching fall prey to false teachers who promise “you can become a better you”?

To counteract these continuing trends, Christians must spend more time in the Scriptures. To end Bible illiteracy and to move with a discerning spirit through this world, one would do well to set up a daily time for personal Bible reading and reading together with the family.

Attend church on a regular basis: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another. . . .” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV) Consider Sunday School or Bible studies because in a smaller group you have a chance to discuss and ask questions.

Parents should not simply allow the church to take responsibility for all the spiritual training children receive. For God’s Word says, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV) Parents and other adults should also be keen to minister by helping with the children’s program at church.

Pastors, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16 ESV) “ I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

Therefore, cling hard to the Word of Truth. “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:9 ESV) What a great blessing it is to share the light of the gospel with people in dark places! (Luke 1:79) My friends, read the Bible and the Holy Spirit will help you to read, understand, and remember. Then, by the grace of God, you will become a literate Christian who will not be deceived for lack of wisdom and Truth.

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