• 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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Reading the Bible

From the pen of Bishop J. C. Ryle:

Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing — is to do it; and the way to read the Bible — is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it — which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears — the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

God’s Gifts

Quoting Ronald Reagan:

“God [gave] mankind virtually unlimited gifts to invent, produce and create. And for that reason alone, it would be wrong for governments to devise a tax structure or economic system that suppresses and denies those gifts.”

He Will Hear You

Dear reader, come to Jesus just as you are. Don’t wait until you believe you are ready. All this will be His gift. Are you not a sinner? Jesus invites you to come to him. You say you are not as sorry for your sins as you ought to be? No one is. Come to Jesus, and ask that He help you to repent. If you are without faith, ask Jesus to give you faith. John A. Broadus (1827-1895) writes:

God is angry with the wicked every day; and the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord. You may not mock the offended majesty of God Most High; you may not dare to mock him by coming unto him in your own name, and trusting in your own righteousness. You ought to fear before him, and to tremble at the thought of coming to him thus. But you may come to Jesus – you are invited to come to him. He is the appointed mediator between God and man. Come and ask him to intercede for you. And then through him draw near to the throne of grace. Make mention of his merits, plead his atoning sacrifice, rely wholly on what he has done, and God’s anger is turned away – he will hear, he will pardon, and your soul shall live. If then you are burdened with a sense of your unworthiness, come to Jesus, and you shall not come in vain.

All that labor, with whatever toil, all that are heavy laden, with whatever burden, may take this invitation as addressed to them. “Thou callest burdened souls to Thee, And such, O Lord, am I.” Whatever it is that bears you down, the consciousness of sin, the terror of judgment, distressing doubts or manifold temptations, whatever else may torment your soul and weigh down your spirit, this invitation is for you. If you are burdened with affliction or sorrow or fearful apprehension, in short (to repeat it again and again) if you bear any burden, you are invited to Jesus. “Come unto me, all ye,” etc.

It would be natural and reasonable enough for one thus frequently and earnestly invited to come to Jesus, especially for one who is “an alien from God, and a stranger to grace,” who knows not the blessed Savior in the pardon of his sins, who has never “come boldly unto the throne of grace,” and obtained mercy and found grace to help in time of need, it would be natural enough for him to inquire now, “What is meant by coming to Jesus? Suppose I feel myself to be burdened, and want to seek relief, how shall I come to Jesus for rest?” This is the remaining subject of which I propose to speak. I shall not try to explain, for I can add nothing to that which is, in itself, plain already, but only to illustrate.

First then I say, come to him as men came when he was on earth. We sometimes hear it said, “Oh that I had lived when Jesus was sojourning among men; how would I have gone to him for peace and prayed that I might follow him whithersoever he went! What a privilege it must have been to the people of Bethany, for instance, when again and again Jesus came among them, when they might, even in their own homes, sit as Mary sat at the feet of the great and good Teacher and learn lessons of heavenly wisdom!” Yes, it was a great privilege; and it is true that the case is somewhat different now. We cannot now go sensibly to Jesus as a man, living somewhere among us. We are not now to go from one part of the country or the world to another, in order to be where the Savior is. There is no sensible coming to him now. But it is only a change from sight to faith – from a moving of the body to a moving of the thoughts and affections. It may be thought a great privation that we cannot go somewhere, as they did then, and find him. But is it not on the other hand a great privilege that we need not now go anywhere; we may always find him here? He is everywhere, and as much in one place as another. Men have often forgotten this great and consoling and gladdening truth. Many a weary pilgrimage has been made in the centuries that are past to the Holy Land, in the hope that forgiveness of sin and peace of conscience, which could not be found at home, might be found there. It is pleasant, and may do the heart good, to stand where Jesus stood, to weep where he wept on Olivet, to pray where he prayed in Gethsemane, but he is here now as well as there. Wherever one seeks him there he may be found “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Wherever there is a tear of penitence, or a sigh of godly sorrow, wherever there is earnest prayer to him or the desire to pray felt in the heart, there is Jesus to see and to hear and to answer. (“Come Unto Me”)

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