- We plan to restart Sunday worship services together next Sunday, May 17. We will email the guidelines to everyone on the church email list tomorrow, the Lord willing. We are willing to address questions or concerns individually or on the Wednesday evening Zoom call.
- Please pray for Rev. Pronk and his family as he is still awaiting the opening of the US Consulate in Amsterdam so that he can have an interview and receive his visa.
Description of Mr. Fearing from Pilgrim’s Progress Part 2 by John Bunyan
But when he was come to the entrance of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I thought I should have lost my man; not for that he had any inclination to go back–that he always abhorred,–but he was ready to die for fear. ‘Oh, the hobgoblins will have me, the hobgoblins will have me!’ cried he; and I could not beat him out of it. He made such a noise and such an outcry here, that, had they but heard him, it was enough to encourage them to come and fall upon us.
“But this I took very great notice of: that this valley was as quiet while he went through it, as ever I knew it before or since. I suppose those enemies here had now a special check from our Lord; and a command not to meddle until Mr. Fearing was passed over it.
“It would be too tedious to tell you of all, we will therefore only mention a passage or two more. When he was come at Vanity Fair, I thought he would have fought with all the men in the fair; I feared there we should both have been knocked over the head, so hot was he against their fooleries. Upon the enchanted ground he was also very wakeful. But when he was come at the river where was no bridge, there again he was in a heavy case; now, now, he said, he should be drowned forever, and so never see that face with comfort that he had come so many miles to behold.
“And here also I took notice of what was very remarkable: the water of that river was lower at this time than ever I saw it in all my life; so he went over at last not much above wetshod. When he was going up to the gate, Mr. Great-Heart began to take his leave of him, and to wish him a good reception above; so he said, ‘I shall, I shall.’ Then parted we asunder, and I saw him no more.”
Honest. Then it seems he was well at last.
Great-heart. Yes, yes; I never had a doubt about him. He was a man of a choice spirit, only he was always kept very low; and that made his life so burdensome to himself, and so troublesome to others.
He was, above many, tender of sin; he was so afraid of doing injuries to others, that he often would deny himself of that which was lawful because he would not offend.
Honest. But what should be the reason that such a good man should be all his days so much in the dark?
Great-heart. There are two sorts of reasons for it: one is, the wise God will have it so; some must pipe, and some must weep.
Now Mr. Fearing was one that played upon the bass. He and his fellows sound the sackbut, whose notes are more doleful than the notes of other music are. Though, indeed, some say, the bass is the ground of music. And for my part, I care not at all for that profession that begins not in heaviness of mind. The first string that the musician usually touches is the bass, when he intends to put all in tune; God also plays upon this string first when he sets the soul in tune for himself. Only here was the imperfection of Mr. Fearing: he could play upon no other music but this till towards his latter end.
I make bold to talk thus metaphorically for the ripening of the wits of young readers; and because, in the book of the Revelation, the saved are compared to a company of musicians that play upon their trumpets and harps, and sing their songs before the throne.
Honest. He was a very zealous man, as one may see by what relation you have given of him. Difficulties, lions, or Vanity Fair, he feared not at all; it was only sin, death, and hell that were to him a terror, because he had some doubts about his interest in that celestial country.
- Pastor and Mrs. Van den Berg have decided to cancel their trip to the United States in early June due to the concerns regarding Covid-19.
- We plan to restart Sunday worship services together on Sunday, May 17. For protection from Covid-19, we will need to follow additional rules during our worship services. We will provide the rules by the end of the week. Please take the time to understand them and follow them.
- The offerings for April 2020 are as follows:
CEF $ 941.00
- We would like to thank the congregation for the outpouring of love and support following the loss of our father and grandfather. Even though the current restrictions have limited personal contact, we have felt your love and support through emails and cards. The Lord rules over all circumstances and we have seen His gracious hand throughout the pastfive years of our father’s/grandfather’s declining health, and also in allowing a funeral to take place. Psalm 84. The Barnard Family.
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy.” Ps. 16:11
Thus you see that our text is true concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is also true concerning all who are in Christ, and each of us, who is trusting in Him, may with the hand of faith, grasp this divine assurance, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life.” I feel quite enamored of this portion of my text, and would be perfectly content if I had only to preach from it. Thou, O my God—Thou who knowest everything—Thou wilt show me the path of life! There is no other guide like Thee, my God. I trust no priest—no man like myself—nor even an angel. Thou, who didst lead Thy people through the wilderness by the cloudy, fiery pillar—Thou wilt show me the path of life.
And Thou wilt show it to me—unworthy as I am—just as if I were the only traveler upon life’s rough way. Thou wilt devote Thy wisdom and Thy strength to me, taking me by the hand, and leading me, as a father leads his child. Thou wilt be gentle and patient with me, and when I am so blind that I cannot see my way, Thou wilt go before me and say to me, “This is the way; walk thou in it.”
And my Lord, as there is only one “path of life,” Thou wilt show me the path. It is but a narrow track, and it runs clean contrary to the broad way that leads to destruction. Thou wilt show me the path, O Lord, and guide my feet into it! When I know not which way to turn, to the right or to the left, Thou wilt show me the path, I know that Thou wilt.
And it will be the path of life that Thou will show me. I shall not live in a kind of living death, as others do, but I shall be really quickened by Thy Holy Spirit. In that path, I shall find life, and by that path, I shall receive yet more of life, and at last, I shall attain to the perfection of life, and see Thee in the glory-life above far more fully than I can ever see Thee in the grace-life below.
Thus you see that every word is precious and full of meaning, but just for a moment think of the complete sentence, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life.” That is true, my brother or sister, about the whole of your life while you are here. You will not be misled if you trust in God, Your own supposed wisdom will surely lead you astray if you follow its guidance, but trust in the Lord, and you shall be rightly guided in all times of trouble and difficulty, and when you come to die—when you are indeed entering upon a new and untrodden path—the Lord will still show you the path of life.
He will teach you the way to be confident even when the dewdrops of death lie cold and clammy upon your brow. He will show you the way to meet your last great adversary without a fear, and without even a tremor, and He will teach you how to find life in death, and how to triumph in the last dread conflict.
I know not how it will be, but God knows, and He will show us, “the path of life,”—the way to be conformed to the image of Christ—the way to attain to the perfection of life everlasting. This is the path that no eagle’s eye hath ever seen, and no lion’s whelp hath ever trodden, yet, in blissful confidence, I may die, and rise again, for the Lord will show me, “the path of life.”
Is not this a blessed truth? Then drink it in, and if you have any fears of death, let them all fly away as you meditate upon this comforting assurance which your Lord Himself has so graciously revealed to you. By C.H. Spurgeon
Service Information Sunday AM, 9:15am: student Chris Engelsma
Title: The Voice of God in Time of Calamity
Text: 2Kings 17
Service Information Sunday PM, 6pm: student Chris Engelsma
Title: A Vision for those in Exile
Text: Ezekiel 47
Psalter 94 vs3-6
“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy.” Ps. 16:11
If you take these words as referring to Christ, they must apply to Him as man. As a man, He was to die, His soul was to be, for a little while, separated from His body, yet even as a man, He spoke with confidence to His Father. You remember that His dying words were, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” He spoke with the full assurance that His Father would show Him “the path of life.” Where did the spirit of Christ go when it left His body? In what mysterious way it entered at once into paradise, it is not for us even to guess.
Some, taking the words literally, have said that Christ descended into hell, and they have even ventured to affirm that He preached to the dead, and delivered the spirits that were in that awful prison house. All that kind of talk seems to me very like that which come from dreamland. We know, from our Savior’s own declaration, that He was in paradise the very day that He died, for He said to the penitent thief, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” But whatever pathway the human soul of Jesus took, it was not unguided, His Father showed to Him, “the path of life.”
His sacred body had to lie three days in the tomb, but it was not corrupted in the least degree. Dr. Watts very sweetly sings—
“There the dear flesh of Jesus lay, And left a long perfume.”
That body, lying in Joseph’s sepulcher, wrapped in linen and sweet spices through the love and kindness of Christ’s disciples, must rise again, and once more the Father showed to His Son “the path of life.” How it came to pass that the Spirit of God wrought upon that precious body, and raised Jesus from the dead, we cannot tell, for the work of the Spirit is secret and mysterious, but those blessed eyes of Jesus opened again, and the pulses of His human heart began to beat once more, and He stood upon those dear feet that had been pierced by the nails, and He unwound the napkin from His head with those very hands that had been fastened to the cross, but which would never again suffer pain, for He had risen from the dead no more to die. As the firstborn from the dead, His Father had showed to Him, “the path of life.”
Then, after tarrying here a little longer—that His re-united soul and body might dwell, for forty days or so, in the midst of His disciples, that they might be quite sure that it was His own body that had risen from the dead, and His own soul that communed with them—He led them out to Olivet, and once again His Father showed Him “the path of life.”
“Then He arose ascending high, And showed our feet the way.”
His disciples beheld Him ascend whilst He was blessing them, and they gazed upon Him as He ascended, until a cloud hid Him from their astonished gaze, and we are expressly told that at the appointed time, He shall come again in like manner as they saw Him go up into heaven. Truly, in Him was fulfilled the psalmist’s confident declaration, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life.” We can easily imagine that as He passed through that cloud, the angels came to meet Him, squadrons of bright beings from the courts of heaven hurried down to do Him homage, and to escort Him back to the glory which He had with the Father ere He came to sojourn here below.
It seems to me to be not merely poetry, but a matter of fact that they did then sing, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in,” and He did enter the gates and went straight to the throne which His Father had appointed as the grand reward of His victory, and there He sitteth, and will continue to sit until His foes are made His footstool. By C.H. Spurgeon
- Please remember in prayer Mrs. Mary Barnard and the whole Barnard family as May’s father, James Rosendall passed away last Monday at the age of 89 years.
- To maintain social distancing, we anticipate using the balcony when we are able to meet together in church again. The balcony needs significant cleaning before it can be used. We’re looking for six families that can help clean a portion of the balcony. Please call or text Ron Hoogmoed at 616-295-3049 if you can help. We will organize the cleaning so not more than one household in the building at a time.
- Please pray in this time for our young adults who are in relationships and have plans for marriage.
Service Information Sunday AM, 9:30am: Student Jacob-jan Matze
Title: Return to Your First Love!
Text: Rev. 2
Psalter: 384 vs 1,2,5
Psalter: 231 vs 2-3
Service Information Sunday PM, 6pm: Student Jacob-jan Matze
Title: The Lord will Provide
Text: Gen 22:1-19
Psalter 376 vs1-6
Psalter 318 vs5-8
But we will come again to this Valley of Humiliation. It is the best and most fruitful piece of ground in all those parts. It is fat ground, and as you see, consisteth much in meadows; and if a man was to come here in the summer-time, as we do now, if he knew not anything before thereof, and if he also delighted himself in the sight of his eyes, he might see that which would be delightful to him. Behold how green this valley is; also how beautified with lilies. Song 2:1. I have known many laboring men that have got good estates in this Valley of Humiliation; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. James 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5. Indeed it is a very fruitful soil, and doth bring forth by handfuls. Some also have wished that the next way to their Father’s house were here, that they might be troubled no more with either hills or mountains to go over; but the way is the way, and there is an end.
Now, as they were going along, and talking, they espied a boy feeding his father’s sheep. The boy was in very mean clothes, but of a very fresh and well-favored countenance; and as he sat by himself, he sung. Hark, said Mr. Great-Heart, to what the shepherd’s boy saith. So they hearkened and he said,
“He that is down, needs fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride:
He that is humble, ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much;
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because thou savest such.
Fullness to such, a burden is,
That go on pilgrimage;
Here little, and hereafter bliss,
Is best from Age to Age.”
Then said the guide, Do you hear him? I will dare to say, that this boy lives a merrier life, and wears more of that herb called heart’s-ease in his bosom, than he that is clad in silk and velvet. But we will proceed in our discourse.
In this valley our Lord formerly had his country-house: he loved much to be here. He loved also to walk these meadows, for he found the air was pleasant. Besides, here a man shall be free from the noise, and from the hurryings of this life: all states are full of noise and confusion; only the Valley of Humiliation is that empty and solitary place. Here a man shall not be so let and hindered in his contemplation as in other places he is apt to be. This is a valley that nobody walks in but those that love a pilgrim’s life. And though Christian had the hard hap to meet here with Apollyon, and to enter with him in a brisk encounter, yet I must tell you, that in former times men have met with angels here, Hos. 12:4,5, have found pearls here, Matt. 13:46, and have in this place found the words of life. Prov. 8:36.
Did I say our Lord had here in former days his country-house, and that he loved here to walk? I will add-in this place, and to the people that love and trace these grounds, he has left a yearly revenue, to be faithfully paid them at certain seasons, for their maintenance by the way, and for their further encouragement to go on in their pilgrimage.
From Pilgrim’s Progress – Part II By John Bunyan
- Please continue to pray for our elderly members and those who feel isolation and loneliness more now than ever in these times of Stay at Home.