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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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  • July 2022
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MEDICINE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18 ESV)

Have you ever suffered from a broken heart? Most people have on some occasion in their lives. Perhaps it occurred after the death of a family member; perhaps it was a divorce; maybe a devastating illness; or the loss of a job. A broken heart may happen because you were denied entrance into the university you had hoped to attend, or because someone you thought was your best friend has begun to ignore you in favor of a new friend. A broken heart may be simple or complex in its cause. None of us are exempt from suffering its effects. It may give us a feeling of hopelessness. Solomon wrote:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, (Proverbs 13:12 ESV)

Continue reading

WHAT IS STRONG FAITH?

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5 ESV)

I think it is interesting to note here that Jesus responds to the statement above by telling His apostles they need faith “like a grain of mustard seed.” Jesus makes the point that even a small amount of faith may accomplish wonderful things if it is placed in God. One of the most important things we learn is that what we place our faith in matters most.

Continue reading

YOU CAN HAVE HOPE

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 ESV)

HopeHope is a genuine enduring wellspring. Yet, it is difficult to conclude why one Christian is more serene and confident in hope than another. Many Christians, at their conversion, brought with them a despondent disposition that habitually expects the dark clouds of hopelessness. Naturally glum and pessimistic because of birth, circumstances and sin, they struggle with that nature throughout the process of Christian sanctification. They genuinely grow in holiness, but are not fully confident in the hope that awaits them. By grace, they will eventually mature in hope by the working of the Holy Spirit. Feelings often come and go, but our God is eternal. He is a God of hope and by the power of the Holy Spirit and faith in Jesus Christ – all may abound in His everlasting hope. (Romans 15:13 ESV)

LIFE IS TOO SHORT!

John Piper:

John Piper“Fight for us, O God, that we not drift numb and blind and foolish into vain and empty excitements. Life is too short, too precious, and too painful to waste on worldly bubbles that burst. Heaven is too great, hell is too horrible, and eternity is too long that we should putter around on the porch of eternity.”

HOPE

William Gurnall:

Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called “the rejoicing of hope” (Hebrews 3:6).

 

 

MY HOPE LIVES

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon:

“My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, HE is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. Hallelujah!” (Morning and Evening)

WHEN YOU HAVE NO HOPE

Samuel A CainHope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12 ESV)

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 43:5 ESV)

Life apart from Jesus Christ is a life without hope in God. We all need hope. Hope gives us a future to look forward to. The circumstances of our lives, however, often make that future impossible to imagine. I think most people experience times when they feel no hope. Sometimes, it seems as if the experience of hopelessness goes on and on. Sometimes, you feel as if it is dragging you to your grave.

Loss of hope may be the result of bad choices. Hopelessness may be caused by disastrous circumstances which have erupted in your life which you cannot control. There are emotional conflicts with the people around you at work or at home which often throw your life into chaos. I think most of us would prefer to live positive and upbeat lives. Yet, most of us have experienced a season of hopelessness in our lives. Continue reading

The Hope of Christmas

Christ and ChristmasI am writing today about the hope of Christmas. Hope is something we need all year-long, but maybe you especially need it just now. Perhaps, you are allowing the stress and turmoil of the world’s secular Christmas expectations to get you down. The Bible tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 ESV) We must all remember that God is working in our circumstances in ways we cannot see and He can make good come out of what is seemingly hopeless.

We need to see that Christmas is part of God’s eternal plan. We may not understand it, but God is working out His purpose for each of us. Christianity teaches that history is headed somewhere and that it is “His-story”. Life has meaning and God rules over it. God is not asleep somewhere, He is watching over us. The Bible says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV)

Hope invaded our world over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. But, like the shepherds so long ago, we must go and humble ourselves in faith before the Lord Jesus Christ. When we do – “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2 ESV) There is great hope in what the future holds for the children of God. Hope means better days are coming. Christmas is a declaration of God’s faithfulness. Paul writes to Timothy, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV)

Jesus was actually a very common Jewish name often given in memory of Joshua (Hebrew form of the name Jesus). Jesus (Joshua) means “God is Savior”. Jesus would save people from their sins.

He saves from the guilt of sin by offering His blood as the atonement for sins. (Romans 5:8-9) Jesus also saves us from the power of sin by sending the Holy Spirit to break sin’s dominion through sanctification. (Romans 8:1-2 and 12-14) Only Jesus can save us from the wrath of God to come. This is the hope of Christmas.

The name of Jesus should, therefore, fill us with hope. We may have salvation through this name. Through Jesus we find mercy as He intercedes on our behalf. For us, the name of Jesus is the very hope of Christmas.

Many people think about Jesus during this time of year and are often deeply moved. However, the season passes and soon they are caught up again in the secular pressures of this world. It is sad to see people come so close to the manger only to be distracted and lured away by the things of this passing world. I pray that God will someday place in their hearts the true hope of Christmas.

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