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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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  • Recommended Reading

Trivial Pursuits

G. Campbell Morgan

Quoting G. Campbell Morgan:

Nothing is more needed among preachers today than that we should have the courage to shake ourselves free from the thousand and one trivialities in which we are asked to waste our time and strength, and resolutely return to the apostolic ideal which made necessary the office of the diaconate. [We must resolve that] “we will continue steadfastly (sic) in prayer, and in the ministry of the Word.” (Letter written in 1900 to a fellow preacher)

Too Much Introspection?

Andrée Seu writes this article which appears in World today. The title is “His Word Over Mine”. She expresses the problem that so many of us have in this self-absorbed culture. This is right on target! I hope you will read the entire article:

Personality is a funny thing. By the time you are middle aged, you cannot tell how much is nature, nurture, or the fruit of bad choices.

Doesn’t matter. I have spent too much time trying to understand why I am the way I am, and not nearly enough time thinking about who God says I am. He tells me that all the old is passed away, and behold, the new is come. That’s His Word. Am I going to put my word above His, or am I going to side with God against my own self-evaluation?

Continue reading here. . . .

God’s Guiding Of Providence

Octavius Winslow

Quoting Octavius Winslow:

We live in a world of mysteries. They meet our eye, awaken our inquiry, and baffle our investigation at every step.

Nature is a vast arcade of mysteries. Science is a mystery. Truth is a mystery. Religion is a mystery. Our existence is a mystery. The future of our being is a mystery.

And God, who alone can explain all mysteries, is the greatest mystery of all. How little do we understand of the inexplicable wonders of a wonder working God, “whose thoughts are a great deep,” and “whose ways are past finding out.”

But to God nothing is mysterious.

In His purpose, nothing is unfixed. In His forethought, nothing is unknown. In His providence, nothing is contingent. His glance pierces the future as vividly as it beholds the past. “He knows the end from the beginning.” All His doings are parts of a divine, eternal, and harmonious plan.

He may make ”darkness his secret place; His pavilion round about him dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies,” and to human vision His dispensations may appear gloomy, discrepant, and confused. Yet He is “working all things after the counsel of His own will,” and all is transparent and harmonious to His eye! (Octavius Winslow’s, “My Times in God’s Hand”)

God’s Own Sake

From Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, p. 2.233:

“[God] wills creatures, not for something they are or that is in them, but for his own sake. He remains his own goal. He never focuses on his creatures as such, but through them he focuses on himself. Proceeding from himself, he returns to himself. It is one single propensity that drives him to himself as the ultimate end and to his creatures as the means to that end. His love for himself incorporates into itself the love he has for his creatures and through them returns to himself. Therefore, his willing, also in relation to creatures, is never a striving for some as yet unpossessed good and hence no sign of imperfection and infelicity. On the contrary: his willing is always – also in and through his creatures – absolute self-enjoyment, perfect blessedness, divine rest.”

Our Inability To See Us

Quoting Paul David Tripp:

“Sin lives in a costume; that’s why it’s so hard to recognize. The fact that sin looks so good is one of the things that make it so bad. In order for it to do its evil work, it must present itself as something that is anything but evil. Life in a fallen world is like attending the ultimate masquerade party. Impatient yelling wears the costume of a zeal for truth. Lust can masquerade as a love for beauty. Gossip does its evil work by living in the costume of concern and prayer. Craving for power and control wears the mask of biblical leadership. Fear of man gets dressed up as a servant heart. The pride of always being right masquerades as a love for biblical wisdom. Evil simply doesn’t present itself as evil, which is part of its draw. You’ll never understand sin’s sleight of hand until you acknowledge that the DNA of sin is deception. Now, what this means personally is that as sinners we are all very committed and gifted self-swindlers. … We’re all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.” (Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy, p. 32)

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