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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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A NEW YEAR’S CALL TO ENTER BY THE NARROW WAY

Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24 ESV)

… Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)

goals-for-new-year-2016-year-resolutionsThe year 2015 has now given way to the arrival of January 1st, 2016. What will become of us in this New Year? What is God’s will for us? This is the time of year when many people make resolutions they believe will improve their lives.

Jesus Christ has said, “… One thing is necessary”. (Luke 10:42 ESV) Yet, this “one thing” is of cosmic and eternal significance. Like Mary, the sister of Martha, we need to choose the good thing which will not be taken away. (Luke 10:42 ESV) We must struggle to enter through the narrow way. The narrow way represents living a holy life before God and man. Paul describes his personal struggle in these words:

Continue reading

LIVING UNDER THE CROSS

JohnCalvinJohn Calvin:

There are many reasons which make it necessary for us to live constantly under the cross. Feeble as we are by nature, and prone to ascribe all perfection to our flesh, unless we receive as it were ocular demonstration of our weakness, we readily estimate our virtue above its proper worth, and doubt not that, whatever happens, it will stand unimpaired and invincible against all difficulties. Hence we indulge a stupid and empty confidence in the flesh, and then trusting to it wax proud against the Lord himself; as if our own faculties were sufficient without his grace …

Nay, even the holiest of men, however well aware that they stand not in their own strength, but by the grace of God, would feel too secure in their own fortitude and constancy, were they not brought to a more thorough knowledge of themselves by the trial of the cross. This feeling gained even upon David, “In my prosperity I Said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favor thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled,” (Ps. xxx. 6, 7.) He confesses that in prosperity his feelings were dulled and blunted, so that, neglecting the grace of God, on which alone he ought to have depended, he leant to himself, and promised himself perpetuity. If it so happened to this great prophet, who of us should not fear and study caution? Though in tranquility they flatter themselves with the idea of greater constancy and patience, yet, humbled by adversity, they learn the deception. (The Christian Life)

THIS PRESENT LIFE

John CalvinJohn Calvin:

In seeking the convenience or tranquility of the present life, Scripture calls us to resign ourselves, and all we have, to the disposal of the Lord, to give him up the affections of our heart, that he may tame and subdue them. We have a frenzied desire, an infinite eagerness, to pursue wealth and honor, intrigue for power, accumulate riches, and collect all those frivolities which seem conducive to luxury and splendor. On the other hand, we have a remarkable dread, a remarkable hatred of poverty, mean birth, and a humble condition, and feel the strongest desire to guard against them. Hence, in regard to those who frame their life after their own counsel, we see how restless they are in mind, how many plans they try, to what fatigues they submit, in order that they may gain what avarice or ambition desires, or, on the other hand, escape poverty and meanness.

To avoid similar entanglements, the course which Christian men must follow is this: first, they must not long for, or hope for, or think of any kind of prosperity apart from the blessing of God; on it they must cast themselves, and there safely and confidently recline. For, however much the carnal mind may seem sufficient for itself when in the pursuit of honor or wealth, it depends on its own industry and zeal, or is aided by the favor of men, it is certain that all this is nothing, and that neither intellect nor labor will be of the least avail, except in so far as the Lord prospers both. Continue reading

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