• 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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  • June 2023
    M T W T F S S
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A Family at Worship

Quoting Paul David Tripp:

We have found it important not to enter the family worship time with rigid expectations and a rigid plan. We want an atmosphere of freedom, where our teenagers feel free to ask questions, verbalize doubts, express confusion, debate applications, and try to draw inferences and applications, all without the fear of being silenced, rebuked, or ridiculed. We want the truth to connect, to convict, and to capture our teenagers, so we are in no hurry. We want to give them time to understand and the Spirit time to work. This time is for them. We have no expectations about the amount of material we cover and our goal is not to get our teenagers to agree with us. The goal is to stimulate in them a hunger for God, so we want to be relaxed, patient, and creative.

Thoughts On Time And The New Year

From the desk of Steven B. Cloud:

Though even thinking on the subject of time may prove discomforting, it is not a bad idea—especially at the beginning of a new year.

As we look into 2012, we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. And all is a gift from God. We have done nothing to deserve it, earn it, or purchased it. Like the air we breathe, time comes to us as a part of life. . . .

Another important thing about time is that you cannot stop it. There is no way to slow it down, turn it off, or adjust it. Time marches on.

And you cannot bring back time. Once it is gone, it is gone. Yesterday is lost forever. If yesterday is lost, tomorrow is uncertain. We may look ahead at a full year’s block of time, but we really have no guarantee that we will experience any of it.

Obviously, time is one of our most precious possessions. We can waste it. We can worry over it. We can spend it on ourselves. Or, as good stewards, we can invest it in the Kingdom of God.

The New Year is full of time. As the seconds tick away, will you be tossing time out the window, or will you make every minute count? (Pulpit Helps, Vol. 14, # 2)

Part V: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

George Washington

George Washington wrote a set of rules about how a man should behave in public. This is the fifth part of my posting of these rules. Some of his ideas may seem quaint to our modern minds but they are an excellent reminder of the importance of being a gentleman!

51 Wear not your clothes foul, or ripped, or dusty, but see they be brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any uncleanness.

52 In your apparel be modest and endeavor to accommodate nature, rather than to procure admiration; keep to the fashion of your equals, such as are civil and orderly with respect to time and places.

53 Run not in the streets, neither go too slowly, nor with mouth open; go not shaking of arms, nor upon the toes, nor in a dancing [damaged manuscript].

54 Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well decked, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly and clothes handsomely.

55 Eat not in the streets, nor in your house, out of season.

56 Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.

57 In walking up and down in a house, only with one in company if he be greater than yourself, at the first give him the right hand and stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him; if he be a man of great quality walk not with him cheek by jowl but somewhat behind him but yet in such a manner that he may easily speak to you.

58 Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for ’tis a sign of a tractable and commendable nature and in all causes of passion permit reason to govern.

59 Never express anything unbecoming, nor act against the rules before your inferiors.

60 Be not immodest in urging your friends to discover a secret.

The Importance Of Time

From the sermons of John Angell James:

“Be very careful, then, how you live–not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Paul implies that a man can give no greater proof of folly, nor more effectually act the part of a fool, than to waste his time. While on the other hand, a just appreciation and right improvement of time is among the brightest displays of true wisdom.

We must value time correctly, and improve it diligently.

Time is the most precious thing in the world. God distributes time miserly–by the moment–and He never promises us another moment! We are to highly value, and diligently to improve the present moment, by the consideration that for anything we know, it may be our last.

Time, when once gone, never returns. Where is yesterday? A moment once lost, is lost forever!

We should never forget that our time is among the talents for which we must give account at the judgment of God. We must be tried not only for what we have done–but for what we neglected to do. Not only for the hours spent in sin–but for those wasted in idleness. Let us beware of wasting time.

It might stir us up to diligence in the improvement of our time, to think how much of it has been already misspent. What days, and weeks, and months, and years, have already been utterly wasted, or exhausted upon trifles totally unworthy of them. They are gone, and nothing remains of them but the guilt of having wasted them. We cannot call them back if we would. Let us learn to value more highly, and to use more kindly, those days which remain.

How much of our time is already gone–and how little may be yet to come? The sands of our hour-glass may be almost out! Death may be at the door!

When you begin a day, you don’t know that you shall end it! When you lie down, you don’t know that you shall rise up! When you leave your house, you don’t know that you shall ever return!

For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes! Life is a bubble that rises, and shines, and bursts! We know not in any one period of our existence–but that it may be the last. Surely, surely, we should then improve our time, when we may be holding, for anything we know, the last portion of it in our hands!

You are immortal creatures, and must live forever in torment or in bliss! And certainly you cannot be forming a right estimate of the value of time, nor be rightly employing it, if the soul be forgotten, salvation neglected, and eternity left out of consideration! (“Redeeming Time” 1825)

Sometimes We Need Wise And Courageous Division


A. W. Tozer

Quoting A.W. Tozer:

“In a fallen world like ours unity is no treasure to be purchased at the price of compromise. Loyalty to God, faithfulness to truth and the preservation of a good conscience are jewels more precious than gold of Ophir or diamonds from the mine. For these jewels men have suffered the loss of property, imprisonment and even death; for them, even in recent times, behind the various curtains, followers of Christ have paid the last full measure of devotion and quietly died, unknown to and unsung by the great world, but known to God and dear to His Father’s heart. In the day that shall declare the secrets of all souls these shall come forth to receive the deeds done in the body. Surely such as these are wiser philosophers than the religious camp followers of meaningless unity who have not the courage to stand against current vogues and who bleat for brotherhood because it happens to be for the time popular… When confused sheep start over a cliff the individual sheep can save himself only by separating from the flock. Perfect unity at such a time can only mean total destruction for all. The wise sheep to save his own hide disaffiliates. Power lies in the union of things similar and the division of things dissimilar. Maybe what we need in religious circles today is not more union but some wise and courageous division.”

Christ’s Sheep

J. C. Ryle

Quoting J. C. Ryle:

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10)

God’s children, His real believing people, are compared to sheep, because they are gentle, quiet, harmless and inoffensive; because they are useful and do good to all around them; because they love to be together, and dislike separation; and lastly because they are very helpless and wandering and liable to stray.

Jesus calls them “My sheep,” as if they were His peculiar property. “Mine,” He would have us know, by election, “Mine” by purchase, and “Mine” by adoption.

Christ’s sheep hear His voice, they listen humbly to His teaching, they take His word for their rule and guide.

Christ’s sheep follow Him, they walk in the narrow path He has marked out, they do not refuse because it is sometimes steep and narrow–but wherever the line of duty lies they go forward without doubting.

Say Goodbye To Steaks And Burgers

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided it can ban dust. What has this got to do with steaks and hamburgers? This ban is directed at farmers and ranchers. Evidently, our secular-progressive bureaucrats think cows create too much dust when they walk.

This outrageous EPA regulation appears to be aimed at destroying the cattle industry in the US. Just as the EPA has helped to regulate our country into dependence on foreign oil, it is now trying to make us dependent on foreign beef. This policy represents the radical environmentalists’ anti-animal agriculture agenda. These people think you should only be able to eat veggie-burgers.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that this ban will not only eliminate the average person’s ability to afford an occasional steak for dinner, it will eliminate more jobs at a time when unemployment is already a major problem.

Doing Business With The Devil

“An Infidel Experiment” was the title of an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of May 2, 1885, written about the city Liberal, Missouri. Creating “a town without a church, where unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed was the objective for founding Liberal in 1880. A “good, godless” city founded on “trustworthy” atheistic ideals reaped only corruption. The reporter of the article had witnessed drunkenness, common use of swearing by young and old, lack of respect for parents, infidelity, and immorality. Abortion was so widespread that doctors spent much of their practice trying to save women from its consequences. In only 5 years, the majority of Liberal’s citizens had become disenchanted with doing business with the devil.

What Is Thrift?

From: The Desk of Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

The path out of the failed debt culture will not be fast or easy, but its main direction is clear. It points toward the greater freedom and security rooted in the value and practice of thrift.

Thrift is one of the oldest and most durable American values but its reputation has suffered during the decades of a debt culture. For many people today, thrift carries the musty odor of the attic and the canning cellar. Some hear the word “thrift” and think of the painful Depression Era privation of their parents and grandparents. Others think of tight-fisted stinginess and joyless self-denial. Still others believe that the practice of thrift is destructive of the economy itself. Thrift, properly understood, is none of these things.

Here’s what thrift is: First, thrift is rooted in a broad social philosophy of human flourishing. It unites two classic themes in American life: self-help and mutual aid. Thrift says that everyone who can master the habit of thrift can save. At the same time, thrift rejects the radically individualistic notion of “do-it-by-yourself.” It holds that people can be thriftier together than they can be on their own. Thus, thrift encourages an institutional culture based on cooperation, associational bonds, and mutual aid. For three centuries, thrift has been the animating value behind mutual savings banks, buying cooperatives, public libraries, community gardens, environmental movements, faith-based credit unions and philanthropic thrift shops.

Second, thrift is generous. Yes, thrift says we should save more but it rejects the idea of hoarding or scrimping for its own sake. Indeed, thrift sees greedy acquisitiveness as a form of idolatry. Thrift is about taking care of our material and natural resources so that there will be enough left to enrich the lives of future generations.

Finally, thrift is a source of pleasure. The practice of thrift leads to an abundance of good things to savor in life. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Wealth is not his who has it but his who enjoys it.” In addition, thrift liberates us from the anxiety of over-indebtedness, the competition of keeping up with the Joneses, and the envy of others’ good fortune. Thrift makes us grateful for what we have achieved on our own, and what has been given to us from others. And last of all, thrift says that it is more fun to give than to get.

Read the entire article here. . . .

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