So likewise you,
when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was
our duty to do." - Luke 17:10
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Friday, February 19, 2010
May My Meditation Be Sweet to Him - Psalm 104:34
2:17 pm est
Dear Congregation and friends in Christ,
All are welcome to the Snowbowl Full of Fun and Fellowship at Apple
Hollow Farm with Chuck and Chris De Young, 41 New Vermont Road, Bolton Landing, NY, tomorrow, Saturday from 1 p.m. on through
the afternoon, into the early evening!
I met Clint Traver at his Uncle Clint Nethaway's bedside
at Glens Falls Hospital this morning. Clint was feeding his uncle a nutritional drink provided by the hospital, and
he pointed to two or three other containers of beverages and food like apple sauce which Clint N. had eaten already that morning.
This is a real breakthrough, and we thank you for your prayers on behalf of Clint N., the Travers family, and the Kelseys,
as caring goes on in various settings, for Clint N. and Ralph K. Please pray for good eyesight for Pastor Charles and
Kay Holliday as they both went through cataract surgery and as Kay rehabs her torn rotator cuff in one shoulder.
These events remind me of as portion of scripture which Clint T., Clint N. and I read today, Psalm 104:27-30,
36, 37. David Traver was with his father at Uncle Clint's bedside and told his father, Uncle Clint needs spiritual food
27 "These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season.
You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
29 You hide Your face, they
are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
30 You send forth Your
Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth....
33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
34 May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will
be glad in the LORD."
In the context of a Psalm which up this point described poetically the
wondrous provision of God for all of His creation, including oil which makes man's face shine, and bread which strengthens
man's heart (v. 15), God reveals in these verses our dependence upon Him for our provision, v. 27, and how we open wide, to
be filled with the good which God gives us, v. 28. I couldn't help but think of Uncle Clint opening his mouth for the
nutritious milk and drinks he has been receiving at the hospital.
The Psalmist also speaks of the
journey through the valley of the shadow of death, dying, with our bodies return to dust, v. 29, when God takes away our breath.
At this time we also know, our souls return to our Maker, waiting for the great general resurrection at the last day
when Christ comes in glory. We also see that it is by the Holy Spirit that we are created, and that "I", the
Psalmist, is committed to sing praise as long as "I have my being", with a commitment to have a meditation in the
presence of God that is sweet to Him.
I would suggest to you that this Psalm suggests to us a significant
pro-life ethic regarding end of life issues. It would suggest to me that when men and women have been granted by God the strength
to "gather in" food into their mouth when it is proferred to them by loved ones as Clint T. was feeding his Uncle
"Junie" today, that it is our moral duty to offer it ! That as God gives them their food, as the formal cause,
we as his servants are the efficient cause. And the end is that the "final cause" (using Aristotelian categories)
results: "I will sing to the LORD as long as I live.(v. 33)" That is to be the final cause of all of life.
What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Q. and A. Westminster
Shorter Catechism. But note, that praise is possible on this side of glory, because someone has proferred food to a
loved one who is in great need of help at that moment.
This evening Lois and I will be attending
a play at the Charles Wood Theatre, "Whose Life is It Anyway?", which deals with end of life issues. You
are welcome to join us there at 7:30 p.m. at 207 Glen St. I cannot be sure of the thrust of the play, but I would guess
that there might be a strong emphasis upon my life being "mine", and therefore I can control when I should end it.
I'm not sure. I'm looking forward to the production. But I do know this: That as believers, we live
in the light, and the responsibility of this truth: "You are not your own, for you were bought at a price"
(1 Cor. 6:19, 20). And every human being is created in the image of God, and has a right to life until that moment that
God will decide to take away our breath, and we die and return to the dust(Psalm 104:29). That is God's choice, and
God's prerogative. We are to preserve and protect life, before birth in the womb, in childhood as little ones grow in
wisdom and stature, and at the end of life.
And who knows what are the meditations that are sweet
to God, which come from a human being in a very weakened condition? (Psalm 104:34). We should not say of a weakened
person, that we know they would not want to live in a certain condition, or that such and such a life is a life "not
worth living". The most recent research which is reported on page 22 of This Week magazine, quoting the Washington
Post, is that some patients who were classified as either in a "persistent vegetative state" or "minimally
conscious" have been shown to be "aware of their surroundings and may even be able to communicate their thoughts".
"The patients were all asked to imagine that they were playing tennis, and then to imagine that they were exploring
their homes, room by room. Most of the patients' scans showed no activity. But five patients' brains "lit
up" in the right area [using a functional MRI machine] clearly indicating that they were responding to the spoken directions
and visualizing the two activities......"These are patients who are totally unable to perform functions with their bodies--even
blink an eye or move an eyebrow--but yet are entirely conscious." (For more detail, see http://www.waiting.com/blog/labels/Coma%20and%20awareness.html)
Even here in a persistent vegetative state are those who may have meditations going up to God which are
sweet to him.
I thank God for the caring community at Redeemer Reformed Presbyterian Church, and
the diligent care offered by so many here for the weak. Let us stand with those who are carrying this responsibility
of caring, encourage them, walk with them, and be there for those who are at weak and at risk.
bless you all !
Saturday, February 13, 2010
TYING INTO JESUS, THE ANCHOR OF OUR SOUL
12:27 pm est
Last night we had a good evening at Stockade (ages 8-13) with a new boy in attendance. Mr.
Walter Anderson, a former boy scout-master in Poughkeepsie who has been attending with his wife, Virginia taught the boys
how to tie a square knot, a bow-line and a sheet bend. We sort of learned them, mostly, ..the bow-line is tricky !
One of the things that was heartening about the meeting was that one of the fathers offered to bring his tow
truck to our next meeting (Feb. 26th) as our "Stockade action". Maybe we'll rip some nuisance tree saplings
on the side of the parking lot out of the ground. That's sure to be a pleaser for the boys who come out ( not to mention
the rangers !)
Here's a thought for you which I shared with the boys. Hebrews 6:19, "We
have this hope as an anchor for the soul." The hope we have as believers is that Jesus Christ has entered behind
the veil, up in heaven for us, already (6:19). He is the anchor in heaven for all who are connected to him. At
this point I showed the boys an anchor from the Piesnikowski's boat, and I tied off a rope to it using a newly learned knot!
Jesus is solidly anchored in heaven, and he will pull our souls up to him after we die, if we are firmly tied
into him through faith. The Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity who "ties us in" to Jesus. The
Holy Spirit dwells in our heart (2 Timothy 1:14), and connects us through faith to Christ (Romans 8:9-11) who lives and reigns
at the right hand of the Father (1 Peter 3:22).
Well, I didn't quite phrase it all that way, in
such detail, but I think they got the message. And I hope you do too. Get tied in to Jesus ! He is the anchor
of our soul, firm and secure. Whatever you face today, rest in that.
You are invited to come
out to Sunday School for all ages at 9:30 a.m., Worship at 10:30 a.m., and 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Trail Signs Toward Eternal Life (Originally published Jan. 30)
5:31 pm est
Reformed Presbyterian Church family,
Last night the Christian Service Brigade West Mountain Stockade met for the
second time with Ranger Mark Beilstein, Ranger Ned Suffern,
Guide John Suffern, Sentinels Jacob Beilstein, Jared Dykshoorn, Stephen Piesnikowski, and Builders Nathan Beilstein and Caleb
Varney reporting for floor hockey, bridge building, Bible Exploration, Trail Sign study and a closing story. Boys age 8 through 13 are welcome to join us on February 12, 26, March 12, 26.
Here's what happened and a word of blessing
for your life.
Last night we tested bridges
we had made out of toothpicks, scotchtape and glue, and you'll be amazed at the weight which these structures built two weeks
ago could hold ! The Builder bridge held 465 pennies and the Sentinel bridge held 559 plus some clippers and a bottle of glue, before collapsing. Perhaps these guys could
consult on the rebuiliding of the Crownpoint Lake Champlain Bridge.....in a few
years. . .
Our Bible Exploration and our closing story circle focussed on crossing over the bridge from death to life by trusting
in the Lord.
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and
will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24
If we hear the word of Christ, and
believe upon the Father who sent Jesus, we have already crossed over the bridge from death to life. Eternal life has
begun for us already, and we get to begin living out an eternity of new life in Christ here on planet earth, waiting for the
day when we will enjoy all of eternity in God's new heaven and new earth at the last day.
Ranger Mark led the story
circle, and shared how he went to a funeral last week
of a good friend and college associate of his, Pastor Kurt from Indianapolis. Pastor Kurt had crossed the
bridge from death to life, had become conformed to the image of Christ and now was with Christ in heaven. It was a moving moment for us all to think about a man of 40 who died after a game of basketball,
but who was now with Jesus because he had crossed the bridge
from death to life through faith in Christ. And Stockade is meant to bring this faith to boys so that these boys will
grow up to men of God like Pastor Kurt who served the
people around him.
Be encouraged congregation. God is at work through the study and proclamation of His word
in many settings. I was richly blessed as I heard my son teach the Stockaders the verses of the month (Trail Signs for Stockade
!) Now let God continue His work in your life today
as you learn these verses together with the whole congregation:
- The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel. -Mark 1:15
- For even the Son
of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom
for many. -Mark 10:45
And if you would like to review the verses from last year and learn them all.....
- Truly I know it
is so, but how can a man be righteous before God? Job
- And she will bring forth a Son,
and you shall call His name Jesus, for e will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (December)
Monday, February 1, 2010
A New Mind (originally written January 9, 2010)
8:41 pm est
Let's say the verse of the month together on Sunday !
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God
is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. Mark 1:15
A little story ... when I was in college
a friend of mine was opining that repentance was John the Baptist's message but that had nothing to do with Jesus. As
we looked at Mark 1:15 together, we both realized he was wrong but he didn't want to admit it. Now I'm not sure this
was a moral failure per se, but it certainly was a view of our faith that was needing change -- a new mind concerning the
situation -- in the Greek metanoia--repentance if you will.
Let us consider our lives...our ongoing need
of repentance in all areas of our lives ( my friend professed to be a Christian ) and our natural tendency to deny that need.
Yet repentance leads to good news! Receive it and live !
We are starting a boys' ministry (Mark
B. and me) for guys around 8-11 years of age. Kick off is Friday, Jan. 15 6:45. Please pray for it and refer boys to
us who will be blessed we hope.
Lord's Day services at 10:30 and 6:00 and Sunday School at 9:30 with summary
of apologetics for 3 weeks for adults !