(Ecc 3:11 NASB)
Pastor Jacob Denys
Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.
Resolved, Never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God, nor be, nor suffer it, if I can possibly avoid it.
Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.
Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.
Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.
Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.
Resolved, When I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.
Resolved, If I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.
Resolved, To be endeavouring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity.
Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.
Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.
Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.
Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the gospel, and another world.
Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.
Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.
Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.
Resolved, To endeavour to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigour, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
JONATHAN EDWARDS / 1722
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Christians cite this verse a lot during difficult times, but are these circumstances really “bad”? The answer, according to Romans 8:28 has to be “no” when we consider that God is working out ALL things for our good. So then, how do we process the seemingly bad things that inevitably come into our lives? Let me tell you that the fault lies not with the circumstance, nor with the God of the circumstance (may it never be!), but rather with our definition of good and bad.
To understand this, we first need to understand the definition of “good” and “bad”. When we define something as “good”, we are always defining it in terms of its conformity to a particular standard. For example, when I say that this meal tastes good, I am comparing the taste of the food to how it conforms to the particular tastes of my tongue. If my taste buds find it pleasing, then the food is “good”. If the food is not pleasing to my tongue, then the food tastes bad. Similarly, in the sporting world, we often judge whether an athlete is good or bad depending on his or her performance to a particular score or objective.
In the realm of everyday life we tend to define the quality of our circumstances by how they conform to OUR standards. Does this make me happy? If it does, then we consider the circumstance to be good. If it does not make us happy, then it is bad. The problem is that the standard we are using to define our happiness is different than the standard for which we were created to find our happiness – God Himself. We look to relationships, health, money, control, looks, comfort, and a million other things to make us happy when God is saying, “Be like my Son to be happy”.
One such example in my own life would be the motorcycle crash I was involved in a few months ago. If the goal (god) of my life was comfort or good health, then this circumstance would undoubtedly be “bad” since the crash neither resulted in my comfort nor my good health. But if (since) God is causing all things, including my motorcycle accident, to conform me into the image of His Son, then the accident must be considered a “good” thing.
Do you begin to see that what is really on trial during a difficult circumstance is not the circumstance itself, but rather our hearts? You see, my judgment that a circumstance is bad is really a judgment that my heart was looking to the wrong thing for happiness to begin with. And it then becomes my responsibility to turn from (repent) of whatever idol was ruling my heart and return to God (Christlikeness) as my true Ruler.
It is our tradition as it is in many evangelical churches to observe the Table of the Lord on the first Sunday of each month. That’s not because someone mandated we do so, but because it’s our choice to start each new month with a fresh reminder of the cross and all it represents.
Why do we observe communion? Because Jesus said we must! We must never forget the cost and the sacrifice He endured for our redemption. As often as we partake, we are to make sure we remember Him!
What does it mean to remember Him? In the original language it means more than just remember. It means…to go back in one’s mind…and try to recapture as much of the reality and significance of an event or experience as one possibly can. We know we can’t fully do that because we weren’t there, but in remembering we are to try and place ourselves at the foot of Calvary some 2000 years ago. Try in your imagination to envision what it would have been like to look up and see Jesus Christ the Son of God hanging there! That vision would and should leave you horrified. His bloodied body so traumatized. You couldn’t even tell He was a man Isaiah says. Imagine yourself there for a moment. Imagine this suffering that He took on your behalf. Imagine what He went through as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
Why should I imagine that? Why should I visit that? It is painful. It is hard. But Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Through the elements we use to partake in His table, He says, “I want you to remember again and again and again and again how you came into this relationship with the Father and don’t forget it!” The Father says, “Come back to Calvary and look at the suffering of My Son. Look at the sacrifice. Look at the torture. And remember all that He had to go through because of your sin.” And it is the Holy Spirit who also never wants us to forget that it is through Jesus’ sacrifice we have eternal life and through nothing and no one else!
Wherever you partake of communion this weekend I hope and pray these are the thoughts that would help you truly remember Him!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor Jacob Denys
When it comes to Easter let’s be clear. It’s not about Bunnies, Egg, Chocolate Candy or Jellybeans…even though I know we love to engage with these things and especially consume them. But Easter really is about Jesus and His Resurrection from the dead! This is the most amazing reality of our Christian faith! That He is RISEN!
As such, if we commit our lives to God through Him, then we can have the assurance that since He lives…we will live too! Death may come (and it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment) but death will not be a tragic end for us! The Resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of the gospel and of our future hope for life after death! Someone has said, “Everything we are, have, and hope to be is dependent on the reality of Christ’s resurrection.”
It is my sincere hope that as you spend time with your family this weekend, the cross and the resurrection of Jesus would be the centerpiece of your gathering and celebration!
If you are looking for a place to worship for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, then please consider visiting us. CBC’s Good Friday service is THIS Friday night at 7pm. Resurrection Sunday service is at 10am!
On Behalf of Our Risen Lord,
Pastor Jacob Denys
Our prayer is that you would be blessed and strengthened by the power of Jesus Christ and that you will life a live of abundance in fellowship, joy and liberty.
We study the Word, practice what we learn and in the process grow together. We equip you to fulfill the Great Commission of the spread of the gospel to all nations.