Ruminations For The New Year
By the Session of Pilgrim Covenant Church


We are at the thresh-hold of 2018. In a short while, 2017 will be history in its entirety. When that happens, many of us will, by default, apply the apostle Paul’s example of “forgetting those things which are behind” (Phil 3:13) as we  seek to “press [forward] toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14).  This is good. We should really not allow ourselves to be weighed down by the burdens and disappointments of past failures as we continue to run the race marked out for us.

Nevertheless, it would surely be remiss not to spend a little moment before making resolutions for the new year to think about the significance of the moment in history.

For this reason, our Session has decided to put together a joint –article which we hope will be used of the Lord to steer our thoughts in a profitable way. You will notice that each section is written by a different Session member. And each is subtitled with a ‘R’-word in view of 2018, ‘R’ being the 18th letter.


1. Reflect

At the threshold of the Promised Land, did not Moses instruct the children of Israel: “Thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Dt 8:2)?

This command to remember is really a call to reflect. We are not at a major threshold as the children of Israel were, but are we not in a way also at a juncture in life where reflection will be profitable before going forward? Reflect, therefore, on the goodness of God towards you in the past year. Reflect on whether you have used 2017 circumspectly, whether there are things to be repented of, whether there are restitutions owed, and whether there are pitfalls you must remember to avoid going ahead.

May I encourage you to spend a little while this afternoon to do so. Use a calendar and write down your reflections as you do so.                 —JJ

Rejoice!

Many things have happened in the past year, some of which you might wish that they have never occurred. But we know that God has purposed all things for the ultimate good of His children, and for His own glory. The Christian can only rest and abide in Christ amidst trials and temptations, in His all-sufficiency, in his sure mercies and love. Let the Christian rejoice in hope both in prosperity and adversity! I have to often remind myself this when the going gets really tough. Brethren, let us not usher in 2018 with our hands and heads hang low, for He goes before us, and in every situation, He is with us. "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love", our Saviour said. As we walk in His ways and abide in His love, He has promised that "my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." (John 15:9-11) Brethren, as we walk through dark valleys, remember that Christ is with us, HIs angels are watching over us, and His covenant people too, journeying as fellow pilgrims, to "rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." (Rom 12:15) Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice!       —PH

2. Remember

The role of remembrance is central to the Christian faith and life. Many times in the Bible we read of how failing to remember the Lord and His works is really an act of faithlessness towards Him (Jdg 3:3; 8:34; Ps 78:11, 42; 106:7, 13, 21). Remembering is something that we do together each week as we remind ourselves of what the Lord has said to us from the days of old and as we recount them to our children and grandchildren. Remembering the Lord is, of course, not merely about having a good memory and being able to recite facts, but it is also about the desire to return to the old paths of obedience where we have strayed. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent" (Rev 2:5). Remember how mercifully the Lord has dealt with you. Remember the victories of faith that he granted you. Remember the promises that he made to you. Remember the vows that you made to him. Remember the resolve that you once had to serve him. Remember how our forefathers walked by faith and gave their lives for it. Remember, and do not forget.    —HT

3. Reconcile

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son... (Rom 5:10)

One of the greatest thing we can thank God for is that we - unworthy sinners, can be reconciled to Him in Christ. As the elders shepherd the flock in PCC, one of the things which we greatly desire and no doubt pray for, is that members be reconciled one with another. Whether it be husband-wife; parent-child or member-member relationships. Remember that no matter how someone has sinned against us, it pales in comparison to how we have sinned against God. If God can forgive us, we likewise must be able to forgive others.

Lastly, do you have assurance that you are indeed reconciled with God? Are your sins forgiven in Christ? How do you know? Do not allow 2017 to come to an end without these questions answered.          —AK

4. Revisit & Review

As we look to the New Year, I’ll like to first encourage all of us who are husbands and wives to revisit and review our marriage covenant.

“I ____, do take you ____ to be my wedded wife, and do…promise and covenant to be a loving and faithful husband unto you…”

“I ____, do take you ____ to be my wedded husband, and do…promise and covenant to be a loving, faithful, and obedient wife unto you…”

The marriage covenant ought to be something we hold very dear to our hearts. It lays before us, in summary form, our most basic obligations to our spouses. It reminds us also that we still have a lot of work to do in terms of strengthening and growing our marriages. But most of all, it points us to the grace of God, and the love of our Saviour for us. Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

The marriage covenant is not merely a formal legal agreement. It is a bond of mutual love and friendship. To view our covenant purely in terms of do’s and don’ts and what-if-I-don’t is to view it legalistically and inadequately. We need to view our covenant evangelically, and to see Christ and His gospel in it.

This is true too of all the other covenants that we may have made as believers. Let us review and revisit those as well not just to remind ourselves of our duties, which is needful, but also to see them from the perspective of the gospel, i.e. Christ has done it all for us and we respond in love and gratitude to Him.

Have a Blessed 2018!           —LC