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Deathbed Calisthenics

We naturally wouldn’t link the rigor of calisthenics with the malaise of dying. Calisthenics has to do with movement and fitness. It is an exercise. The question upon all of us—old and young— is how are we preparing to die? Simon Goulart was a pastor during the Protestant Reformation in Geneva, Switzerland and a friend of John Calvin. In his Remedies Against Satan’s Temptations in our Final Hour,* Goulart exercised his congregation to die well by posing the following instructions:

1. Keep in mind the promises of the kingdom of God. They are “yes and Amen” in Jesus Christ, and they are for you. While the kingdom of God isn’t only about you, it does include you. Know the promises. Memorize them.
2. Battle continuously the temptations of Satan by means of the Word of God. That’s what Jesus did when he faced both the enticements of the devil and the prospect of death in humble submission to God’s Word.
3. Pray that God will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength. “Lead us not into temptation.” We actually have the promise from God in 1 Cor 10:13 that God won’t do this, but pray it and tell him that you trust him according to his promises.
4. Contemplate with the eyes of your faith Jesus Christ, humiliated and exalted for your salvation. This isn’t merely re-imagining the events of Jesus’ last week all over again as if it were a superstition. It is the spiritual vision supernaturally given by the Holy Spirit to all who turn and trust.
5. Forgive those who have sinned against you. “As you have forgiven us.” Nothing like getting and staying ready to die like letting go of bitterness and conflict. This kind of love wins all the way into eternity.
6. Confess your faith and Christian hope. Your confession of faith in Jesus was not just a ‘one-and-done’ thing at conversion. This is active; as active as your feeble frame or frail tongue can muster the words. This bubbles and overflows within you like a fountain even when your body is falling apart.
7. Commend your soul to God. Like Jesus, Stephen and others, entrust your soul to God to the very end.

*Thanks to Dr. Scott Manetsch’s book Calvin’s Company of Pastors for pointing out Goulart.

Posted by Will Pareja with

A Worship Service ‘Dance’

One of the things that may initially be hard to pick up on is when you hear the footsteps of people coming down the aisle to collect the offering every Sunday is that a ‘dance’ is about to occur, but not the kind of dance you might imagine. The movement is between God’s truth and your heart. Here are some of the steps involved:

  • God’s owns everything; even me. Psalm 24:1 makes a huge statement: “The LORD owns the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live in it.” So by virtue of the fact that God made you and created you with skills to work or blessed your family with both skills and finances, you and “your” money still belong to him. How are you going to manage God’s money? Think of it as giving back to God what already is his. You’re just his manager, not the owner.
  • Jesus Christ is the example of generosity to follow. When Jesus started off his “career,” he basically had the shirt on his back. He died poor and naked. If had a high net worth, you wouldn’t likely cash it all in to go live on the streets. That’s essentially what Christ did. Sacrifice is his heart. 2 Corinthians 8:9 states, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
  • Offerings are simply a time of joy to glorify God by responding to his grace to you. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” So, if you’re not used to giving regularly to the Lord and his church, try this: Start small; be consistent. Decide whether you’re going to spread your contributions weekly, by paycheck, monthly, quarterly, etc. You can always go back to the drawing board. Pray for God to take care of your spirit. And you.

Finally, check out what the Bible says in Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 9:3-12; 16:1-2; Ephesians 4:7; and, Philippians 4:18. Then, maybe read Randy Alcorn’s The Treasure Principle.

Posted by Will Pareja with

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