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Ok, I’ll admit that this is a repeat of a post from last year from another blog I sometimes managed. But, I’m still a fan of the concept, and it would seem it is worth repeating. For context, I had previously, on that other sometimes managed blog, I mentioned ever so briefly (with scant little in the way of explanation) that I was not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but rather commitments. Perhaps it could be argued that it is just a matter of syntax, or measure of degrees, but whatever tension that may exist between the two word choices, I still prefer to hold to New Year’s commitments. It is likely that you have had similar observations that I have had when it comes to New Year’s resolutions: they are usually brought on by guilt, regret, or shame, and they rarely last beyond Groundhog Day. Rare is it they that have been truly thought over, even more rare that they have been prayed over. Still rarer than that, are those that would have a God-focused quality to them.

As much as I dislike resolutions, I do like the idea of being resolved. Again, the tension in wording exists, but I think the difference notable.

In the 1828 version of Noah Webster’s dictionary (which you really should get, and I highly recommend you order it from Vision Forum) Webster defines resolve this way:

  • As a verb: To fix in opinion or purpose; to determine in mind.
  • As a noun: Fixed purpose of mind; settled determination; resolution.

For those of you who think you are going to catch me in an error by mentioning the fact that Webster uses the word resolution, let me say this: if we, in our current culture, used the word resolution the way those in the 1800’s (and the 1700’s, as you will see below) chose to do so, then there is no problem. However, our culture, and their understanding of resolve (and subsequently resolution) has diluted this word so much that when most people think of New Year’s resolutions, the sum effect of that statement is to really say “here are some things that I probably should work on, and I hope to be able to do them.” Does that sound like a “fixed purpose of mind” or “settled determination”? Methinks not.

You may be asking “what is the point of this entry?” which is a good question. Sometime within the next 36-48 hours, I will set aside time to establish goals and commitments for myself and for my family. It’s hard to do that this time of year without hearing the word resolution clamoring for attention in your mind. Noting my affinity for being resolved, my mind was drawn to one of my heroes of the faith, Jonathan Edwards. As he entered into a preparatory period for public ministry, he spent several months in his father’s home. While there, he crafted a list of 70 resolutions (the 1700’s understanding of that word) to serve as standards for his own life. I share with you here just a few though the rest can easily be found.

Jonathan Edwards. Notice also that for the first time in a while, a picture has been added to this blog.
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.
  1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God and own good, profit, and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved, to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good of mankind in general. Resolved, so to do, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.
  2. Resolved, To be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the fore-mentioned things.
  3. Resolved, If I ever 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 possibly avoid it.
  5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.
  10. Resolved, When I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom and of hell.

I would ask of you the same I would ask of myself – how do my New Year’s commitments stand up to these? Keep in mind, this is just 1/7th of what Edwards resolved himself to do. I certainly see room to grow within my own goals for the upcoming year. How about you?


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Merry Christmas!

A thought to consider as you celebrate the birth of the Savior:

“The conduct of the wise men is a striking example of faith. They believed in Christ when they had never seen Him – but that was not all. They believed in Him when the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving – but that again was not all. They believed in Him when they saw Him a little infant on Mary’s knee, and worshiped Him as a king. This was the crowning point of their faith. They saw no miracles to convince them. They heard no teaching to persuade them. They beheld no signs of divinity and greatness to overawe them. They saw nothing but a new-born infant, helpless and weak, and needing a mother’s care like any one of ourselves. And yet when they saw that infant, they believed that they saw the divine Savior of the world. ‘They fell down and worshiped Him.’

“We read of no greater faith than this in the whole volume of the Bible. It is a faith that deserves to be placed side by side with that of the penitent thief. The thief saw one dying the death of a criminal, and yet prayed to Him and ‘called Him Lord.’ The wise men saw a new-born babe on the lap of a poor woman, and yet worshiped Him and confessed that He was Christ. Blessed indeed are those that can believe in this fashion!”

J.C. Ryle, “Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew”

Additionally, here is our most recent Christmas letter. Likely, you have already received this, or soon will, but just in case not, it is here for your perusal and (hopefully) enjoyment.

2011 Team DeyArmin Update

We trust each one of you will have a very Merry Christmas and rejoice over the birth of our Savior.

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We're 1/3 of the way there! Or maybe halfway! Or maybe more!

Some of you who have chosen to follow this blog may have an interest in where we stand with raising our financial support. As a reminder of sorts, we have committed to raise $1300/month in support to serve with Village Missions somewhere in rural North America. As another reminder, Village Missions will not place us/give us our assignment until that support comes in. Since we’re pretty much chomping at the bit to get going to wherever Village Missions wants to send us, we’re eager to see God provide that support. Like I have shared with others, we know God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, so we do not question His capacity to bring in the funding, but we are at least moderately curious when He is going to do so. By His grace, our curiosity has not turned into panic.

As of last week, we stood at $508 in ongoing monthly support, which would put us over 1/3 of the way to our goal. Additionally, we were blessed and surprised by some extraordinarily generous one-time gifts, that when included in the overall number crunching, would put us just about exactly 50% of our goal. We are honored to have earned the favor of others to choose to support us as we venture with Village Missions, and we are abundantly grateful for their sacrificial giving.

We received word today that our home church, Lake City Community Church, has very graciously decided to make us one of their supported missionaries, an honor for which we are humbled and encouraged by. Their exceptionally generous support takes us over the 50% mark. We simply marvel at how God has led and inspired people to be our supporters, and we consider it a privilege to have them prayerfully and financially supporting and encouraging us.

If I may, I’d like to make an appeal for you to join us in praying for the other 50% of our financial support to be raised. We are very eager to move to the field assigned to us (when  we do get an assignment) and Village Missions is very eager to issue us that assignment! I shared in a previous post that of the 8 couples at Village Missions Candidate School, 3 of them had their assignments. I learned today that 3 more couples have received their assignments, leaving just 2 couples left looking to be placed – we are one of the 2! Please pray that God would raise the rest of the funds necessary for us to go, and that we would have an even larger group of individuals and churches praying for us along the way.

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What about the candidates?

I’d love to take this space and invest time into discussing potential candidates for the Presidency, but: 1. I’m not sure that would satisfy the purpose of this blog, and 2. I’m a little too flummoxed to be able to come up with a cogent answer or response.

So, instead, I’ll focus on other candidates, specifically, candidates from the Fall 2011 Candidate School for Village Missions. We were among 8 couples who were invited to Candidate School. If you’d like to get a quick overview of each of the couples, be sure to check out the post by Village Missions’ Executive Director, Brian Wechsler, here.

Of the 8 couples that were at Candidate School, 3 have been given their assignments. The Dedera’s were already serving a Village Missions field near Spokane, WA, and Brian was chosen by the church to be their next pastor, so their transition, at least geographically speaking, was fairly easy. To be truthful, it was probably a mistake to allow Brian and I to sit near each other at Candidate School as we share a similar sense of humor and took frequent opportunities to distract each other. If Mike, Brian W., Roy, or Randy are reading this: don’t worry – we still heard every word you said, and I have the notes to prove it!

We rejoice with two of the other couples who recently received their assignment. Hopefully you are ready to hear towns you have never heard of, and will have a hard time finding on Google maps unless you click on the highest magnification level possible – these are the towns and communities that have often been ignored, but Village Missions is intimately aware of.

The Krutsch family (according to them, their last name is pronounced so it rhymes with “smooch” and proceeded to demonstrate that for us) were assigned to Prescott, Washington. If your Pacific NW geography is lacking, Prescott is in SE Washington, 20 miles north of Walla Walla. They are hopeful to be in the pulpit by early January.

Also receiving their assignment, and also hopeful to be in place by early January is the Fraher family. The Fraher’s have been assigned to West Bethel, Maine. I’ll admit that my New England geography is in poor shape, so I can’t give you a reference point, other than to say that it is in Maine, and appears to be close to Canada. Looking at Maine from the NW though, it might as well be in Europe. The Fraher’s will be a wonderful blessing to the community, and we trust that their investment will pay huge dividends.

That leaves just 5 couples awaiting their assignment, including us, which means that there are 5 more couples prayerfully seeking financial support to go to wherever in rural North America that Village Missions deems to be the best fit. We would be honored on behalf of all of the couples, including us, if you would join us in praying for God’s provision for the financial support to be able to go. If the other couples are like us, they are chomping at the bit to go “preach the Word and love the people” and to “keep country churches alive”.