We stand before a new year – 2021! On January 1, millions of individuals around the world will have started the new year with resolutions which they will walk away from in a matter of days. The difficulty of holding on to these self-made promises can exasperate an individual resulting in a life of regrets; long hours sitting in front of the television; reading “success” stories on Facebook; watching endless hours of YouTube videos; always being a follower on Twitter, but never leading a fulfilled life. What a waste indeed! Consider the following: each new year offers 365 days; each day has 24 hours; each hour has 60 minutes; each minute has 60 seconds. Thus, an individual has 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes, and 31,536,000 seconds in their hands to work with!
In the eighteenth century, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) compiled a list of 70 resolutions that he kept throughout his lifetime. He knew that in his own strength he would not be able to keep them; as such he prefaced his resolutions with these words: “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake,”; Edwards depended on God’s strength. Of his list, the following are worth mentioning:
“1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.
2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.
3. 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.
4. 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 avoid it.
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.
9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.
19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.
22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.
28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.”
These are but a few of Edwards’ resolve to live to the glory of God.
I am looking forward to a year of resolve to seek God, to know God, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3.18). Throughout 2021 may we devote time to seeking God in prayer, studying the Scriptures, building up one another in the faith (Ephesians 4.11-16), and sharing the message of the gospel with the community of Edgewood. May we be “careful how [we] walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most the most of [our] time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5.15-17). Lord, “teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90.12).
God’s grace and peace be with you in the New Year.
Christmas Eve 2020
We are told that the night in which Jesus was born, shepherds were out in the fields keeping watch over their flock. It was a duty not highly viewed by many during that time for it was, indeed, a smelly and dirty job. To add insult to injury, it did not pay much; no one could ever dream of becoming wealthy by caring for sheep. Yet, it was to these men that an angel of the Lord appeared with an announcement directly from the throne of God; “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2.10-11; italics added). It was a specific announcement for a specific people; and the shepherds were the privileged ones to hear it first! For centuries, the people of Israel had been at odds with God, the One who took them out of Egypt, called them His people, and cared for them. In return, they despised Him, rebelled against Him, cursed Him, and defied Him in ways too numerous to name, to the extent of killing the prophets who proclaimed a word from God. Consequently, they were always under political oppression from neighboring countries, always wondering why they were suffering hardships; they ended up as exiles for 70 years. What Israel refused to see was that their ways had caused a rift between them and God; and God was calling them to “get their act” together. For four hundred years, between the closing of the Old Testament and the opening of the New Testament, God was silent. But now, the silence is broken! God speaks! A Savior is born! For the shepherds, for Israel, for all people!
This is what Christmas is all about; God sending His Son in the form of a baby to be Savior of all humanity which has been at odds with Him for centuries. Yet, in His compassion and mercy, He provides a way to make us right with Him – through Jesus the Christ. While the humanity, presently, searches for quick remedies to its numerous problems, the Light of the world shines in the Person of the baby born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago (John 8.12). As we celebrate His birth, let us remember that the good news of great joy is for us – a Savior has been born, Christ the Lord!
God’s peace be with you.
Pastor Tony Rivera
Dear honorable members of First Presbyterian Church of Edgewood,
God’s grace and peace be with you.
The congregation gathers annually for a congregational meeting to present and discuss the church’s operating budget for the following year.
This note serves as the official call and invitation to the congregational meeting to be held the evening of December 22, 2020 starting at 7:00 pm. The same will be held via Zoom, due to the COVID 19 national pandemic. An announcement was made Sunday, December 13, 2020 from the pulpit, and another one will be made December 20, 2020 informing you of the meeting, per the FPCE’s bylaws and the PCUSA’s Book of Order.
Instructions on how to log into the Zoom meeting will be sent Monday, December 21, 2020, prior to the meeting itself. Should you have any questions, please contact the office during normal business hours (M-F, 9 am – 2 pm).
May the grace and peace of God surround you and embrace you and your family this Christmas season.
As was announced last week, our sister Kathy Clevenger lost her battle with cancer and went to be with our Lord on December 5. This week, husband Scott Leatherbery put together a beautiful tribute. We met at the church to record his remarks, Sunny and Shaun provided music, and an edited video including many photos from the life of this incredibly resilient woman is now available as an unlisted link on the church YouTube channel. Please take a few moments to watch and remember Kathy.