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He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Another Year

Another year is past and another year yawns into the present.

Many at this time search and reflect upon the past and project into the future.

It is a time for resolution, reflection and resolve.

Many will make resolutions for the coming year.


It is interesting to me that the word resolution means intent, determination, resolve and in an ironic twist 'to end conflict'. I believe that most aspects of our New Tear's tradition of making resolutions, at heart, seeks to end conflict, or at least minimize the adverse affects of a dissonant lifestyle. Now defining dissonance is a personal matter, hence the wide variety of resolutions made by individuals.

As Christians our call to resolve our conflicts, whether they are personal matters of the heart or issues with other people is an undeniable aspect of our lives.

Romans 14:13, "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this ..."

Jonathan Edwards was a man who believed that "... resolutions were neither pious hopes, romantic dreams, nor legalistic rules. They were instructions for life, maxims to be followed in all respects."

The value of resolutions lay in the ability to define life, set goals and effectively evaluate choices. Jonathan Edwards believed in speaking the truth, living a moderate life, avoiding sloth and the ill use of his time, prayer and the advantage of developing an even temper. His seventy resolutions provided a thoughtful view to the pursuit of these objectives and perhaps a very balanced approach to life.

Of note are;
5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.
7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life 
17 Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.
52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age.
56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.
57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin.
63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time.
 
There are many others all of value and containing immense merit for the pursuit of a Christian life.
 
These are heady and profound resolutions and without doubt intimidating.
 
Romans 14:13, "... not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way."
 
It is fortunate that the measure with which Edwards chose to live his life is not the measure by which all men are judged. I appreciate and marvel at his resolve to live a life exemplary in Christian discipline, however, I am not sure that I could maintain the strictness of his devotion. This may be a lamentable condition and perhaps the call of God this Year should be for Christian men, myself included, to rise up to accept a higher calling for our lives.
Nothing cliche in that!
 
I will not share with you my resolutions, if I made any, because I desire that you be not judged by the measure and the inherent criticism that will evolve by comparison. Each man is accountable for his own strength and ability.
 
I hope you have made resolutions this year and I hope that they are of such merit and substance that not only are you a changed man, but others will be drawn to you and will ask of you the reason for the difference.
 
1 Peter 3:15, "... but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; ..."

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