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Friday, February 13, 2009

Devotional and Pilgrim's Progress

Our devotional tonight was worth typing up ...

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Read: Acts 17:10-34

The Preaching of the Cross of Christ

For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. Acts 17:20

A new settlement had been established. The church was in its growing stages. The local residents were curious how there people believed and on what grounds their faith was built. The ministry started receiving invitations from surrounding areas to share their testimony about the newly established church. After a number of these requests, the ministry began wondering why they kept receiving these invitations. They examined their presentations and discovered that possibly the teaching of the cross of Christ was lacking. When they received more invitations, they promptly emphasized cross bearing. The invitations soon ceased. When we speak casually of our faith, it is amazing who all agrees, but when we speak the truth about cross bearing, the sphere of agreement becomes less crowded.

The apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effects." In verse 18 he explains why. "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

When we walk in the footsteps of Christ, we walk with Him through the Garden of Gethsemane, through Pilate's judgment hall, through the hearing with Herod, and down the Calvary road. We experience the crucifixion of self. We say with Christ, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Then we experience the hope of eternal life in having risen with Christ, renouncing sin (Colossians 3:1-4). We "set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth." This is the working of the cross of Christ in our life.

Wayne E. Miller - Rushsylvania, OH

Surrender means embracing Christ
at the point of my deepest rebellion.

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We started reading through Pilgrim's Progress again the other night. I was immediately reminded of how much we all enjoyed this book!!! I am thankful we chose this for our next book. Today we read about how Christian was almost deceived out off the narrow path by Mr. Worldly Wiseman (World for short). World told Christian he could go see a gentleman named Legality in the village of Morality. There Legality would show him an easier way. Christian did not have to take the narrow path that was often filled with wearisomeness, painfulness, hunger, perils, nakedness, sword, lions, dragons, darkness, and in a word, Death. Legality offered a way filled with safety, friendship and contentment! It is a 'better way', and short, not so attended with difficulties. You see, Christian was looking for deliverance from his heavy burden - burdens he obtained by reading the Book (Bible ... he was convicted of his sin and realized he needed a Saviour). World said he could find ease from his burden by visiting the village of Morality and talking with Legality. Here in this village Christian could be rid of his burden, be reunited with his wife and children (who thought he was crazy for walking on the narrow road), and live next honest neighbors, in Credit and good Fashion.

So ... Christian left his narrow way looking for an easier route. Thankfully, he realized that way was scary! He ran into his friend Evangelist who quickly learned why Christian strayed from the Narrow Way.

What Evangelist had to say to Christian of this encounter goes very well with our devotional tonight:

"Give more earnest Heed to the things that I shall tell thee of. I will now shew thee who it was that deluded thee, and who it was also to whom he sent thee. The man that met thee, is one Worldly Wiseman, and rightly is he so called; partly, because he savoureth only the doctrine of this world; (therefore he always goes to the town of Morality to church) and partly, because he loveth that doctrine best; for it saveth him from the Cross; and because he is of this carnal temper, therefore he seeketh to pervert my ways, though right. Now there are three things in this man's counsel that thou must utterly abhor.
1. His turning thee out of the Way.
2. His labouring to render the Cross odious to thee.
3. And his setting they feet in that way that leadeth unto the administration of Death."

At this point Evangelist proceeds to expound on each point.

This book is very good! I like how the Scriptures are woven throughout.

OK ... that's all I have time for today. I pray all are doing well!!

2 comments:

  1. i've never read pilgrims progress, but i saw a cartoon of it. it was really good :0)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The original version is well worth the read :)

    In Christ,
    Joanne

    ReplyDelete

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