• 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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  • October 2022
    M T W T F S S
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Throwing Our Children Into The Ganges

From the desk of Jim Elliff:

When culture rushes down on your family and the professing church is trying to imitate the world itself, how will your family keep from being swept away in its path? Only through the Word of God! Family worship, on a daily basis, is your hope that they will stand like steel piers against the prevailing tide… In India there was a custom of throwing babies into the Ganges River as a sacrifice to the gods. If we are unwilling to do any more than merely take our children to church, we might as well be throwing them into the river of the culture. This is an explanation why many children of Christian parents are so often no different than the world’s. They have been given to the gods by their parents – thrown in with hands of neglect.

Home Blessings

From “Faith’s Checkbook” by Charles H. Spurgeon:

“He blesseth the habitation of the just” (Proverbs 3:33).

He fears the LORD, and therefore he comes under the divine protection even as to the roof which covers himself and his family. His home is an abode of love, a school of holy training, and a place of heavenly light. In it there is a family attar where the name of the LORD is daily had in reverence. Therefore the LORD blesses his habitation. It may be a humble cottage or a lordly mansion; but the LORD’s blessing comes because of the character of the inhabitant and not because of the size of the dwelling.

That house is most blest in which the master and mistress are Godfearing people; but a son or daughter or even a servant may bring a blessing on a whole household. The LORD often preserves, prospers, and provides for a family for the sake of one or two in it, who are “just” persons in His esteem, because His grace has made them so. Beloved, let us have Jesus for our constant guest even as the sisters of Bethany had, and then we shall be blessed indeed.

Let us look to it that in all things we are just — in our trade, in our judgment of others, in our treatment of neighbors, and in our own personal character. A just God cannot bless unjust transactions.

Reforming The Family: A Serious Thought On Love In The Biblical Family

You are probably not going to appreciate my publishing this post on Valentine’s Day. The excerpt below was written by Brian Abshire who is the Teaching Elder at Highlands Reformed Church. He did not write this for Valentine’s Day, but I think today is a good day to read his article. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about “Love”. We often have a vague sense of what love means on a day like today: On this day we demonstrate our love through cards, candy (chocolate of course), and small gifts. Our Valentine’s Day circle usually includes family, close friends, and/or girlfriend or boyfriend. I want us to focus here on “family”. As Christians, if we are called to “love one another” with the love of Christ, something has gone terribly wrong with the condition of the “love” expressed in today’s Christian family. On this Valentine’s Day, let’s take a serious look at some of the things that make the “love of Christ” difficult to express in our own families and vow to make any changes that need to be made. Brian Abshire writes:

The modern American Christian family now too often looks something like this. Mom and Dad come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds with no sense of their cultural history. They may also come from completely different parts of the country. Consequently, they often have divergent goals, interests, expectations etc., except for a common commitment to self fulfillment. . . .

Because of large college debts, Mom goes back to work after the honeymoon, trying to recapture some of the massive investment her education required. After several years of increased consumer debt, Mom and Dad decide to have a family. But they cannot afford to have very many children. As soon as possible, Mom needs to go back to work to keep their affluent, debt ridden lifestyle going. As the children grow up, they are immediately sent into the public school system; Christian schooling is too expensive and home schooling too difficult. Time with the family is severely limited due to Dad’s career; Mom’s work and the myriad recreational activities the children are enrolled in. Quality time is defined as everyone watching the same program on TV.

Church offers no respite. The children are carefully separated from the family as soon as possible and given mindless entertainment in various youth activities. Children develop their core values from school, television, friends and the other kids at church (hence what bad habits they don’t learn on their own, their peers will soon teach them). Since the culture emphasizes personal gratification, a significant number of children will become involved in premarital sex, drug abuse, indolence, etc., much of which they will carefully hide from their parents. Many of these children will drop out of Christianity before 25. Mom and Dad will be delighted if their children stay off drugs, go to college and get a good paying job. They will be ecstatic if their kids marry a nominal Christian, show up for church (but probably not theirs) a dozen times a year and do not formally renounce the faith.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad are frustrated with each other and adultery or deviant sexuality is a real possibility. Dad abdicates the running of the family to Mom (he’s too busy playing with his remote control). Mom wants a strong husband, but has no model of godly submission. Secularized culture has given her unrealistic expectations of what it means to be a woman (she’s to be a career minded girl, who is a super mom to the kids and a sex goddess to her husband, all while finding her sense of identity by discovering her real self). She’s frustrated, often bitter and slanders her husband at women’s Bible studies. . . .

The individual Christian is often frustrated, alienated and tries to finds satisfaction in either work or hobbies. Children are increasingly seen as an “experience” rather than as a duty to fill the earth and subdue it. Life is fractured and divided. Where one works has nothing to do with where one lives or goes to church. The church itself is simply another social club, with the membership changing annually. There is therefore a dearth of significant and meaningful relationships. Women are frustrated at their men who live increasingly irresponsibly outside of their jobs. Women run both the home and church. Divorced from any significant, lasting human relationships, American Christians end up just like their unregenerate neighbors, living a self absorbed, self indulgent lifestyle, moderated only by the thinnest veneer of Biblical morality.

And the root problem is the loss of the Biblical family. A sub-biblical family means that individual Christians do not grow in the fundamental character qualities to make effective leaders. The Church weakens, producing even less effective Christians, who in turn are more and more influenced by the world, rather than influencing it.

Read the entire article here. . . .

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 ESV)

Brian Abshire has served as a Biblical counselor, lecturer in theology, youth, singles, young married and senior pastor. He is currently the Teaching Elder at Highlands Reformed Church, (Hanover Presbytery, Reformed Presbyterian Church).

Father’s Day!

“This is the most wonderful story of the love of a father outside the gift that God gave us with His son. . ..”

Read “FOR BEING FATHERS” here. . . .


Thomas Watson

Quoting Thomas Watson:

This world brings only ‘change’, it is never constant but in its disappointments. The world is but a great inn, where we are to stay a night or two, and be gone; what madness is it to set our heart upon our inn, as to forget our home!

Marriage Is The Cornerstone Of Society

Quoting Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Chuck Donovan:

Marriage is the cornerstone in an archway of values that form the constitution of the family and the foundation of civil society. To its advocates as an institution with a pre-political meaning, it is not an entity created by the state but rather one recognized by the state. It is not about one family, but the coming together of two families, whose role in begetting and bearing children make them not merely part of a community but the creators of community. The community they create is not time-bound, but existing across generations. … What is at stake is the whole task of society to ensure that as many children as possible are raised by their mothers and fathers.

When Angels Peeled Back The Sky

Quoting Larry Libby:

Late on a sleepy, star-spangled night, those angels peeled back the sky just like you would tear open a sparkling Christmas present. Then, with light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, they began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it “Good News,” and it was.

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